Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Soup to nuts; floorboards to shingles; whatever’s on your mind; whatever project you want to tackle, we are here to help you get the job done. We’re going to shed some light, today, on a solution to a dark and dreary home. You know, it’s summer. Nothing should be dark and dreary right now. But still, some of you are facing dark and dreary interior decorating. (Leslie chuckles) We’re going to give you a decorating tip to let in the light with glass block. You know, it’s back. Glass block is back bigger than ever.
LESLIE: And you know what, Tom? It sometimes didn’t really ever go anywhere.
LESLIE: It was always around. (chuckling)
TOM: Has it been in your house all these years?
LESLIE: No, we don’t have it but I know plenty of people do; especially with Manhattan apartment living. They’re using them for dividers. They’re using them in baths. It really does help to create a lot of light into sometimes a dark space.
TOM: There’s new colors. There’s new textures. There’s new applications. And guess what? Glass block doesn’t have to be glass anymore. There’s high-tech synthetics that look like glass block but are actually easier to install. We’ll be filling you in on that on today’s program.
LESLIE: And also, are you tired of doing all that heavy lifting in your kitchen? You know, lugging full pots of water or those heavy garbage bags around? Well, we’ve got some solutions to your backbreaking kitchen problems coming up.
TOM: Plus, if you are getting ready for a great weekend, we could help because we’re giving away a grilling prize package from our friends at Reynolds Wrap. It’s worth more than 100 bucks. It’s got everything you need for your 4th of July barbecue.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mmm, getting hungry already.
TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who is first?
LESLIE: Ray in Utah’s looking to make some electrical upgrades to the bath. How can we help?
RAY: Yes, I appreciate your taking my call. I have a house that was built in the 80s and before that – you know, when it was built – they didn’t have a ground fault interrupter; GFCI circuits required in the bathrooms and I want to upgrade my bathroom and install GFCI outlets. And I just have a question about – I wanted to put two outlets. I have two sinks and I wanted to have an outlet on each sink and I wanted to see about putting those in series and if that’s compatible with the existing – I have three-prong – three wire – you know, grounded wires.
RAY: But I just wanted to (inaudible) compatible with my existing wiring.
TOM: Well you should be able to do it, Ray, if they’re all in the same circuit. It’s possible to wire up a ground fault so that one ground fault de-energizes the entire circuit. It’s done all the time in new construction. It’s not uncommon to have, for example, a ground fault circuit interrupter in the master bathroom that when tripped turns off the circuit for all of the bathrooms. If it’s wired in series it’s possible.
And for those that are wondering what the heck we’re talking about, we should clarify that a ground fault circuit interrupter, or a GFCI, is that fancy outlet with the test and reset button on it. And it has a very, very specific purpose. What it does is it turns off the circuit if someone’s receiving a shock. Now, a normal outlet doesn’t – normal circuit breaker, I should say – does not do that. It’s designed to turn off electricity only if the wire is overheating. It senses amperage. This actually senses any diversion of current to a ground source and if you get 2/1000 of an amp that goes to ground, which could be you, it turns the circuit off.
LESLIE: And you should have them in your kitchen. You should have them in the bath. And those should also be in the exterior of your home as well.
RAY: And in the garage.
TOM: And the garage, yes.
TOM: Exactly. And sometimes even in the basement. So this is a good thing to do, Ray, and you can hook it up that way. If you’re not experienced, have an electrician help you out.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Calling in from New Hampshire, we’ve got Roberta who finds The Money Pit on WGIR. What can we do for you today?
ROBERTA: Yes, we purchased a brand new home and it’s a two-story home and our floors are squeaking. We’d like to find out if there’s a solution to our problem.
LESLIE: All the floors? Upstairs, downstairs? Describe where the problem is.
ROBERTA: OK, it’s in the bathrooms; it’s in the kitchen; and it’s in the – it’s in all the floors in the whole house.
TOM: OK, is it – so it’s both hard surface and carpeting?
ROBERTA: It’s carpeting and we have a hardwood floor that is squeaking …
ROBERTA: … and it’s also lifting.
TOM: Ooh, that’s unusual. OK, well …
LESLIE: And the house is brand new?
ROBERTA: The house is – yes, we purchased it brand new. We’ve lived in it not quite a year. And the problem didn’t start right away. I would say six months into living in it and …
LESLIE: OK, Roberta, do you have a homeowner’s warranty on this property? And the building?
ROBERTA: Well, we were – we do have a year’s warranty.
ROBERTA: And we contacted the builder and they’re telling us that they do not guarantee against squeaks; that squeaks are normal.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, here’s what I suggest you do. First of all, pull out your warranty documents and – because while squeaks might be normal, floors that lift certainly aren’t normal. Second thing, you need to report this not only to the builder but also to the warranty company that backs the builder. Because notice to the builder does not constitute notice to the warranty company when it comes to filing a warranty claim. And that’s kind of stepping up the pressure a bit on the builder. He’s going to try to want to resolve that to avoid an issue with his warranty company. So always a good idea to file a claim; a letter; just a document from the – with the warranty company that you’ve got this issue. That will set in place a system to get that looked at. Now, the warranty company may ultimately not cover it but it certainly gets the process started.
Now, in terms of the actual fix, it’s going to vary based on what your hard surface – whether you have hard surface or whether you have carpet. If you have carpet, the best thing to do is to pull the carpet up and to screw the subfloor down with hardened drywall screws; those long, black, case hardened screws. Because the noise is happening because the plywood is moving in and out of the floor joist. When you install subflooring you use a nail that’s called a cooler. It’s a seven-penny common nail and it’s called a cooler because it has glue on the outside of it; like a rosin kind of a glue. And as you drive the nail into the wood, the friction is supposed to melt the glue. But it also becomes very noisy when the nail does not fully set in the wood and a board moves up and down and it makes a terrible squeaking sound. So that’s the reason the floors are making the noise.
The solution is to secure them down. If it’s carpet, you can pull the carpet up and screw it down. Now, if it’s hardwood floor, a little more complicated because now you’ve got to drill through the hardwood floor; you have to screw it down; you have to plug the hole. And if it’s vinyl or tile, now the only thing you can do is work from underneath it and if you can’t get access underneath, then there’s really not much you can do. The good news, if it makes you feel any better, is that squeaky floors rarely indicate any type of a structural problem. Generally …
LESLIE: It’s more of a nuisance.
TOM: It’s a nuisance.
ROBERTA: Right. It’s – it is very annoying. I mean …
TOM: Yeah, I hear you.
ROBERTA: … you walk and everywhere you walk you’re hearing squeaks.
TOM: Well, I think you should get started with the warranty company because the builder will blow you off on things like this. And sometimes the builders know that unless you report it to the warranty company they don’t have to do anything. And since you’re so close to the year it’s really important that you document not only that but anything else that’s going on in the house.
You know, something you might want to do, Roberta, is have a professional home inspection done of the home. It might cost you $200 or $300, but that inspector could probably identify more things that could be covered by the warranty and give you a chance to get those reported as well. Just get the letter to the warranty company; not just to the builder. OK to copy him but it’s important the warranty company is put on notice.
LESLIE: Yay! Hooray, summer! We can help you tackle all of those planned home improvements because give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. We will answer all of your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whenever you want, we can help. So give us a call.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, riddle me this, Batman.
TOM: When is a window more than a window.
LESLIE: When it’s a pane?
TOM: No, not exactly. We’re going to tell you how to use windows for interior decorating, after this.
LESLIE: Come on, that was good, right?
TOM: It was very good. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Alright, thanks.
ANNOUNCER: This segment of The Money Pit is sponsored by Angie’s List. Need work done around your house and don’t know who to call? You don’t have to guess who’s good and who’s not. Angie’s List has thousands of unbiased reports on local service companies with details from real member experience. Call 888-944-5478. Or visit AngiesList.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us now with your home improvement project. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. If you’ve recently discovered that low-flow toilets were great only in the concept stage (Leslie chuckles), call us now with your plumbing question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: I’m such a kid. I love potty humor. I’m sorry, Tom.
TOM: You like that?
LESLIE: I do. I think it’s funny.
TOM: We take the stress of your home improvement projects; plumbing and all.
LESLIE: (chuckling) That’s right. And we also take the stress of all of your weekend projects by giving you cool prizes to help you get any project done. And this prize package actually helps you get some relaxing done. Actually, grill-axing. It’s a prize package from our friends at Reynolds Wrap. And one caller that we talk to this hour is going to get a package that’s worth more than 100 bucks. It’s got everything you need to have a very successful and tasty barbecue: a platter; teak grilling tools; spices; recipes; aprons to keep you clean; all sorts of stuff. And if you don’t win the Money Pit prize, we’ve got another option for you. If you go to Grillaxation.com you can enter to win a barbecue, a $5,000 makeover and – I love being a prize – you can win a design consultation from me. So Tom, I don’t know if you are eligible but you could enter, too.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Hey, what’s not to love. Go there today. What is it? Grillaxation.com?
LESLIE: That’s right.
TOM: Alright, let’s talk about more summer topics. The best thing about summer besides barbecuing, of course, the long days. To bring that brightness back inside, you might want to consider glass block. It’s back. You can use these in place of windows. You can use them in bathrooms where you want more privacy. You can use them as divider walls to separate a space without blocking out light. You can even install glass block in the floor and uplight it from below for a really cool effect. It’s actually …
LESLIE: Ooh, I like that.
TOM: Yeah, it’s strong enough to do that. And the best thing about glass block is that there are more design choices than ever before.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. You know, you can still even find those plain, square glass blocks but there’s also some tempered glass; some swirl patterns; diamond patterns; and there are tons of different colors available on the market today. You can mix and match colors to create patterns or you can use clear blocks with some of different textures thrown here and there to create a random pattern; even though when you’re doing something random it always ends up being planned. But one great benefit of glass block windows is that they block those harmful UV rays which can end up fading your furniture fabric and your window treatments. So aside from being aesthetically pleasing, they serve a purpose as well: letting in light and saving all that expensive fabric.
TOM: Well, speaking of glass, let us clear up your home improvement questions right now by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Susan in Illinois finds The Money Pit on WYLL. Welcome. How can we help you today?
SUSAN: Well, we have a picture frame that fell off the wall and we’re wanting to restore it. And the problem is that there was one piece that’s fairly long – it was about five inches long and, of course, jagged on the edges and so on – that is missing. Because my niece was living in the apartment and …
LESLIE: And she threw it out.
SUSAN: She threw it out.
SUSAN: So now what do we do? We have this beautiful – it’s a pine picture frame that is gilded with gold and (chuckling) it has one piece missing.
TOM: You’re not making it very easy on us, Susan, you know that? (chuckling)
LESLIE: Is the portion that’s missing, is it fairly straightforward or is there a lot of molding or shapes carved into it or is it a straight piece?
SUSAN: No, it’s pretty much molding and shapes that – you know, it was very irregular; sort of the edges were – the two ends were probably very sharp. You know. And then it wasn’t that deep but it’s just that, basically, you know, I’m thinking would spackle work?
TOM: Well, not spackle. Not spackle. But go ahead.
LESLIE: First I’m going to say bring it to a local frame shop and see, number one, if they can’t replace those two pieces. They might have that exact molding in stock that they use to make the frame and it could just be simply done where they just replace those two pieces. If you want to be a little bit more craftsy and perhaps see how your molding skills are and your carving skills before you go and consult a professional framer …
LESLIE: … Tom, could you use like wood filler and just like build it up a lot?
TOM: Yeah, you could use a wood restorer. There are different products out there. There are products out there that are designed for rotten wood that fill in the gaps and kind of smooth out and are sort of hard and epoxy-like that can be sanded.
TOM: You could also use like – one of the good ones is Rock Hard Water Putty.
TOM: It’s been around for years. It’s a powder. You mix it up with water and it gets kind of clay like and you kind of mold it right in there. Then after it dries you can sort of carve it to match the other …
TOM: … match what’s around it. But what concerned me; what threw me, Susan, is you said there was gold leaf on it. I don’t know any way that you’re going to be able to restore that.
LESLIE: Well, what’s the base under the gold leaf. Is it a different paint? Is it a stain? Or is it completely gold leaf?
SUSAN: No, it’s just a gold leaf stain. So I think …
TOM: So you could possibly refinish the whole thing after you repair it so it’s all the same color.
LESLIE: Well, no. If you go to any craft store there’s a specific aisle where they have – crafts or an art center like a Michael’s or a Pearl; whatever you’ve got in your area. They have in – there’s one aisle that has all sorts of foiling kits.
LESLIE: And there are different levels and types of golds and coppers. I’m sure you’ll be able to bring a piece of that frame with you or bring the whole frame and match it up to that foiling. And then what I would do is I would look at whatever that base color is …
LESLIE: … and just try to paint it or stain it whatever to match the existing base color on your frame. And then once that dries, follow the directions for the foiling because what you would do is – I imagine it sort of looks aged and there’s like spacing between those gold foiling …
LESLIE: … you apply some sort of adhesive in like sporadic spacing and then put that foiling over and then you sort of rub it. And then when you peel away the paper it’s got that gold foiling there. I’d work on something extra on the side; perfect my technique and then go to the frame. But it shouldn’t be that difficult.
SUSAN: Yeah, I think it also is spattered a little bit but that – I could just use a toothbrush and a screen – right? – and spatter it a little bit?
LESLIE: Well, even if you take the toothbrush and just rub your fingers on it, it’ll spray it. And you can use a super metallic gold paint. You can buy just a little pot of it – a small one –
LESLIE: – and spray that out as well. Use a combination of the foiling and the gold paint and the base color. If you practice, I bet you can mimic it.
TOM: You know, the secret to these kinds of repairs, Susan, is to make it so – look so good that people think it was always supposed to be designed that way.
SUSAN: Right, right.
TOM: So give it a shot.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Don in Louisiana finds The Money Pit on KEEL. What’s going on at your Money Pit and how can we help?
DON: We just finished building a house. It’s all cypress on the outside and it appears that the cypress has grown since we finished building it and there are now cracks in between the boards [and the backs] (ph).
DON: And sometimes when the wind blows real hard some insulation comes into the house. And so, I need to find a way to fill in those gaps; preferably without, you know, hurting the look of the wood finish.
TOM: With all this cracking going on, can you tell me what kind of finish you have on that cypress?
DON: It’s just a sealed finish.
DON: Just a natural color.
TOM: Hmm. Well, because it seems to me like you shouldn’t be getting that much cracking and checking. Now, in terms of repairing it, the problem is that anything that you put in there in terms of a wood filler on wood is simply going to expand and contract and may, in fact, fall out. Now, if you were to use a good quality, say, an epoxy-based wood putty, you are going to have a coloration issue. So it’s not going to match. So what you would have to do on top of that is apply a stain and stain comes in either clear, semitransparent or solid color. And generally speaking, the more solid the color the longer it’s going to last. If you use solid color you’ll still see the grain through but you won’t see sort of a difference in the grain pattern. The coloration will be one color as opposed to being sort of multiple colors.
LESLIE: But you know what? It might just be that you were using a product that didn’t penetrate into the cypress. Because cypress, you know, is a beautiful and exotic wood and you want to make sure that you get something that really penetrates into it. And Flood makes a product. It’s the CWF Ultra Last premium natural finish. And it is really super-penetrative. So it will get into that wood surface and it really makes sure that it minimizes the cracking and the warping and even damage from moisture and sun. So you want to make sure you use a good quality product to help preserve that wood and, you know, keep the work down for yourself as well.
DON: OK. Can you say the name of that again?
LESLIE: It’s CWF UltraLast and it’s their premium natural finish and it’s made for exotics and hardwoods and, you know, it really does stand up well to elements.
DON: Alright. Well, I’ll look into that.
TOM: Don, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, those dog days of summer are back. But don’t wait until your AC acts up to give it a tune-up. Up next, we’re going to tell you what it takes to keep you in the cool all summer long.
ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/HomeDesign to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are America’s number one home improvement radio show …
TOM: … so give us a call right now so we can help you with your number one home improvement question. You know, speaking of top questions, it occurs to me that priorities change when it comes to home improvement.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah?
TOM: For example, if it’s a really hot summer day and your AC is not doing the job, that can change your priorities very quickly.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It can make you want to run out and get air conditioning immediately.
TOM: Absolutely. Well there are a few things to remember if you want to avoid finding yourself in that situation. First of all, you need to make sure that your central air conditioning system has a tune-up done by a pro. One of the most important things they’re going to check is your refrigerant level because even if your system seems to cool, if it’s not filled up properly that means it has to run longer to do the same job which means it costs more money. So an air conditioning tune-up by a pro is important.
The next thing you can do yourself, that’s replace the filter and you need to do it frequently.
LESLIE: Is it monthly? It is annually?
TOM: Like once a month. And I can’t tell you how many times in the 20 years I spent as a home inspector I would open up the blower compartment to the furnace and I would find this absolutely gross …
LESLIE: Like dusty mess?
TOM: … encrusted, dusty mess. And I would say to the homeowner, ‘Hey, when’s the last time you changed that?’ ‘Oh, I didn’t know I had to change it.’
LESLIE: ‘Oh, you have to change them?’ (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Or once a year when the furnace guy comes to do the heating system maintenance, you know. No, you’ve got to change those once a month. Unless you have a really good quality filter, like an electronic air cleaner – for example, those from Aprilaire – which have to be only cleaned, I guess, about once every – what it six months or a year?
LESLIE: No, it’s once a year.
TOM: Yeah, once a year.
LESLIE: But I imagine if you buy one of those super-effective ones it would tell you on the packaging. So if it’s not saying anything, change it once a month just to be on the safe side.
TOM: Most of those thin ones, once a month.
Also, thermostat. Hey, people, if you don’t have a clock setback yet would you get one? Because that can knock 10 percent off your heating and your cooling costs. And once you have it programmed – fairly easy to program – it will keep your house comfortable without over-cooling it.
Now, if you want the complete guide to keeping cool this summer, you can go to MoneyPit.com; click on the project finder and then choose air conditioning where you will find everything we’ve ever written about the topic of air conditioning, including a checklist that can guide you through these projects. It’s all right there on MoneyPit.com; guaranteed to keep you from getting hot under the collar.
Call us right now with your home improvement question. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Going to Iowa to talk to Sheryl who apparently has bought an old home and has lots of questions. What can we do for you?
SHERYL: Well, it’s actually my son who has bought the home.
SHERYL: And it’s a real fixer-upper.
SHERYL: Was built in the 1840s and it has – it’s entirely a limestone house. And the foundation – it had a basement on half of it and the basement has gotten waterlogged and frozen and thawed and frozen and thawed and the foundation is kind of giving away in one spot in particular. And do you have any ideas on restoring that foundation?
TOM: Sounds like it’ll take more than a Band-Aid. (chuckling)
SHERYL: (chuckling) Yeah, I’m afraid so.
TOM: If your basement wall is deteriorated because of all of this flooding and it’s starting to give way, it may be that that portion of the wall – if not the entire wall – has to be rebuilt. And the way that’s done is by temporarily supporting the frame of the house. There are a couple of techniques for doing that but it essentially involves getting supporting beams into the frame and maybe not lifting the house but at least supporting it so it doesn’t drop any further.
One of the techniques is called needle beaming where basically you, if you can imagine threading a beam through the foundation blocking – knocking out a little hole enough to get a beam through and then supporting it on the inside and on the outside so you’re kind of lifting up the wall, while the foundation is being replaced and then you essentially build a new foundation right up to the house and then you drop the needle beam and pull it out and fill the hole.
So, there are a number of ways to do it but it’s tricky work. It’s definitely not a do-it-yourself project.
SHERYL: Well, thank you so very much. I certainly enjoy your program.
LESLIE: Henry in Virginia finds The Money Pit on WJFK. What’s going on at your house?
HENRY: I’ve got these dark stains on my roof that I’d like to know how to get off.
LESLIE: Are they sort of streaky and dark?
LESLIE: Yeah, that seems like it’s a mildew or a sort of a mold growth.
TOM: It’s a moss. It’s a moss. Yeah.
LESLIE: Does it tend to be on the shadier parts of your roof?
HENRY: No, it’s almost like it runs from the top down. There’s not a growth on it or anything it’s just a discoloration of the shingles.
TOM: Is it like streaky?
HENRY: In certain places, yeah.
TOM: Does it seem to be streaky underneath either chimneys or vent pipes or any other type of roof protrusion?
HENRY: No, uh-uh.
TOM: OK. Well, it’s probably a moss. And you can clean your roof. There are a number of roof cleaners out there. You can use an oxygenated bleach. You can use Simple Green. You can use Jomax. Doesn’t Flood have a deck cleaner also that will work on a roof?
LESLIE: Yeah, theirs is called DEKSWOOD and that really is good at restoring things. But I think what you really want to do is attack that mold or that mildewy growth; that moss that’s up there, which is exactly that discoloration you’re seeing, and any of those cleansers – the Simple Green or the Jomax or even just a bleach and water solution – will get it out. And then, if you can, apply it on a sunny day where it really gets a chance to attack all those spores that’s causing this growth. And it might be something that you’re going to have to do seasonally but, you know, only at the beginning of the season. And it should keep you clean all through the summer.
HENRY: So would I just take and like get above the stained area and pour it down?
TOM: Yeah, what you want to do is get a pump-up garden sprayer, Henry, and then fill that up with your cleaning solution. Spray it on the stain, let it sit for a while and then hose it off. You can brush it off with a broom. Just don’t use too much pressure so you don’t ruin the roof shingles. And of course, it could be slippery so you have to be very, very careful while you’re doing that.
Now, once you get those stained cleaned up, we’ll give you a little trick of the trade to stop it from happening again. If you were to install a copper or a nickel ridge vent along the top peak of your roof, what will happen is as the rain falls, gets onto this ridge vent and it runs down the roof, that ridge vent will release a little bit of copper and a little bit of nickel and that has a cleaning effect on the roof. That’s why sometimes under a copper flashing you’ll see some …
LESLIE: You see that streaking.
TOM: … bright streaking. Because the copper is actually cleaning the roof. So by using copper ridge vent or a nickel ridge vent above the roof, that will actually help keep it clean.
HENRY: Oh, OK. Great. I’ll do that then.
TOM: Alright, give it a shot, Henry. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, coming up after the break, if you’re doing all the heavy lifting in the kitchen, well you are doing something wrong. We’re going to tell you how to avoid stressing and straining when we come back.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help save time and money while preserving your home’s exterior finish. For more information visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com.
TOM: Don’t look now but your home improvement projects just got a little bit easier because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for a chance to win the Grillaxation prize pack; a new word I learned today …
LESLIE: That’s right.
TOM: … from Leslie. Grillaxation.
TOM: It means you can grill and relax all at the same time and this Grillaxation prize pack is from Reynolds Wrap. It’s worth more than 100 bucks. Includes everything from a grill rub to a 3-in-1 grill brush to a teak-handled grill tool set from Williams-Sonoma. One caller we talk to this hour is going to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And remember, you must have a home improvement question and come on the air in order to qualify.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, if barbecuing is not your thing – and I can’t imagine who does not like barbecuing – but say you’re cooking inside, well you’re probably doing a lot of heavy lifting around your kitchen and you might just be ready to throw in that dish towel. But there are several things that the folks at AARP suggest to stop giving yourself such a workout in the kitchen. If you’re tired of carrying those pots full of water from the sink to the stove, ask your plumber to put an extra long spray hose next to the faucet. This way you can fill those pots right on the stove and never have to lift those heavy pots again.
Also, there’s so many new faucets that you can get. If you want to do a major plumbing project and you’re doing a kitchen remodel, have one of those cool faucets installed behind your stove on your range hood so that you can actually just fill the pot there. It’s so awesome and they really are kind of good-looking.
TOM: And you know, I also saw – I just came back from the Pacific Coast Building Conference out in San Francisco.
TOM: And I saw some new faucets there where the actual faucet had poles down and the hose is kind of built into it. And that’s pretty cool, too. If you get a long one of those you can kind of reach over with that and you can fill your pots and you can …
LESLIE: And a lot of those have pause functions also …
LESLIE: … so you don’t actually have to run back and turn on the faucet and then go back and squeeze the trigger. It all works together.
TOM: Right, and you can have a water fight with your kids at the same time. It’s real fun.
LESLIE: Which is the best part of those spray features.
TOM: And you also might want to consider picking up a garbage disposer or a trash compactor. These kitchen helpers will cut down on the amount of garbage you have to haul [the trashcan into the curb] (ph). Just make sure that all of the switches are easy to reach.
You know, a few changes could really spruce up your kitchen and help you keep safe, too. If you’d like more information on cool kitchen improvements that you can make that will make your kitchen more effective, more comfortable and more safe, you can go to the website for AARP. It’s at AARP.org/HomeDesign. AARP.org/HomeDesign. And I checked that the other day, Leslie, and they continue to pile on the tips at that site. Really good job by the folks at AARP.
LESLIE: And you know what? They’re helpful for everybody in this country; not just the folks of a certain demographic. They’re good for people with small kids in the house; if you’ve got relatives visiting of a certain age. It’s just smart thinking that you might not think about in the first place but they make a huge difference and could save you from a, you know, pretty nasty fall.
TOM: Call us right now if you’ve got a home modification question or a home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Anthony in Georgia’s got a dirty driveway. What kind of dirt, what kind of driveway, what can we do for you?
ANTHONY: It’s just – I’m not even sure what kind of dirt. It’s just dirt. I have a terrible drainage problem. I live on a dirt road. I have a concrete driveway. Every time it rains it all comes down in my driveway and right straight into my house and ruining my floors.
ANTHONY: And I’m not sure how I can fix it.
LESLIE: That sounds like a major grading issue, too.
ANTHONY: It does come down a slope into the yard. I’m just not real pleased with the way the house was built so I’m having to fix some serious problems. And this is a major one that I need some help with. (chuckling)
TOM: Alright, well let’s talk about the drainage issue. Is it possible that you could intercept this water that’s running down and moving the dirt off?
LESLIE: Like a curtain drain.
TOM: Yeah, I’m thinking curtain drain here where, basically, what you would be doing is you would be digging a trench between the driveway area and on the hill and you would be – it doesn’t have to be a deep trench. One that’s about 12×12.
LESLIE: And don’t they get covered by, you know, gravel and grass …
LESLIE: … in itself so you don’t even know it’s there.
TOM: You dig the trench first. You put about four inches of stone in there; a perforated pipe; more stone; cover it with dirt and grass so it’s invisible and it’s done. And you angle it and slope it so that the pipe can actually discharge somewhere. And what this does is this will accept the water as it’s running down the hill; allow it to collect and sort of run around the driveway and around the house area. And this way, you won’t have to worry about the runoff.
ANTHONY: I have thought about doing that and that’s a real good option that I have available to me. But the only other question I have was if I do that, would there be a way that I could tie the downspouts into that and get it all going away from the house.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, you could do a PVC system that actually ties it all together. In fact, there is a PVC component that goes from a four-inch K-style downspout into a four-inch round PVC pipe. They actually make a fitting for that.
TOM: Yep. It’s specifically designed for that. Just make sure that – I would recommend that you try to take the downspout water through a different pipe …
TOM: … and not run through the perforated pipe so you don’t erode more soil out than you have to. Take it through a solid PVC pipe out. But you definitely could do a drainage system where you collect all of the water together and get it away it from the house.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And get it all away together.
TOM: And you’ll find the house is going to be a lot drier when you do this as well and you’ll also have a more stable foundation.
ANTHONY: I’m just worried about trying to save my floors. We’ve been in this house for like – November will be five years and we’re already having to look at replacing the carpet in the living room and the linoleum in the kitchen.
TOM: I definitely think that you will – you’ll find it to be far less wet.
LESLIE: Yeah, once you stabilize everything, then replace that floor.
ANTHONY: Yeah, absolutely. I’m not doing any – because when we replace it we’re going with hardwood. I don’t want this problem when I get the hardwood. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Well, you know what? Since it – once you get that moisture under control it’s going to be a great situation. But if you ever have any doubts about the moisture, think about an engineered hardwood because they stay structurally stable regardless of the moisture situation. So it’s a good option even for a kitchen.
ANTHONY: Oh, OK. Well, that’s an idea I hadn’t thought of. Well, I appreciate y’all’s time.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, it’s one of the top 10 questions we get asked on the program. Leslie, you want to guess?
TOM: Rrr-roof …
LESLIE: Oh, you didn’t have to lead me with the r. Rrr.
TOM: Roofing. Roofing. Yes. And here’s the question. If you’re planning on replacing your roof, should you put a second layer on or should you rip it out and put only one layer on. Well …
LESLIE: Oh, oh, oh. I know the answer.
TOM: The answer actually has a little economic equation to it; a little bit of math involved here. We’re going to teach you it by the numbers, after this.
LESLIE: I’ll keep my hand up through the break.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, one of the biggest scams out there for home owners involves moving companies. You know, those dishonest movers can basically hold your stuff hostage and then jack up that price; which, if you’re not reading the fine print in their contract, it’s their right to do so. You really almost have no choice but to pay that ransom and get your furniture and your personal items back. Other fly-by-night companies may lose or break your belongings.
Well, in our next e-newsletter, we’re going to teach you how to hire a moving company that’s on the up-and-up. If you’re not a subscriber sign up now at MoneyPit.com and while you’re there you can click on Ask Tom and Leslie and you can e-mail us your questions and we will answer them right now on the air.
TOM: And Mike did that from Oldsmar, Florida. Fairly common question.
LESLIE: Alright. He writes: ‘My composition shingle roof was installed in 1984 and is starting to curl at the edges. Should I remove the shingles or would it be OK to apply a new layer right on top of them? Leaving the old ones on seems to provide an insulation, in my mind. But I want to know your opinion.’
TOM: Well, there’s actually zero insulation that you’re going to pick up from a crumbled old roof shingle. If the layers are deteriorated; if they’re curled, the second layer is going to not lay flat. And also, what’s going to happen is – and this is where before the break we were talking about sort of the economic question here –
TOM: – if you put a second layer on that roof shingle, what happens is you reduce the life of the second roof – the new roof – by about 25 to 33 percent. And …
LESLIE: Now, is that the case with all new roofing materials? Are there certain ones that you can apply over an existing one?
TOM: Well, a metal roof you can certainly put on top of it and it would have no effect on it but if it’s an asphalt roof shingle that’s oil-based asphalt, what happens is that first roof holds a lot of heat. And that forces the second roof, which is the new roof, to deteriorate that much more quickly. So, for example, this first roof, put in in 1984, lasted – what? – 24, 25 years now?
TOM: So, you know, the second roof’s not going to last maybe more than 15 or 18. You know, there’s a good website for information on roofs and that is GraceAtHome.com; The website by the folks at Grace Construction Products, GraceAtHome.com. Lots of tips on how to install a roof and also information on the high-tech flashings that are available for new roofs.
LESLIE: Yeah, really great website. Check it out.
TOM: Well, let’s talk about siding; your home’s siding. You know, there is one condition of that home’s siding that we get a lot of questions on and that is these nasty little black spots that show up on the siding. They can make the house look really dingy; really dirty. But there’s actually an easy way to get rid of them and Leslie has the step-by-step in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Alright. Well those little suspicious black spots that you might be seeing on your siding all over the siding is actually called mildew. And the best battle against it is your pressure washer. You want to mix up a solution of 20 percent bleach and 80 percent water and then go to town. Spray away. If you do it on a sunny day it’s best because the sun will actually help to kill those mold spores and really fight it and make sure it does not come back. Apply that solution; let it sit there for about 10 minutes; give it a good scrub with a stiff brush; really work it to help those spots go away; and then rinse again using your pressure washer.
But you know, any time you’re using your pressure washer on siding, you want to make sure you keep that pressure down. I know you want to crank it up. And then pull back a little bit from the siding because you just don’t want to damage that surface by accident. Even though you mean well you could cause some trouble. If you do that – and I hate to say it, you’ll probably have to do it at the beginning of every season if you just end up with this problem – but it’ll keep you nice and clean all summer long.
TOM: Excellent tip. And I should mention that you have got, actually, project tips every weekend on our website; the Money Pit Weekend Project by Leslie Segrete. In fact, when I’m wondering what I should do every weekend (Leslie laughs), I simply call Leslie and ask her.
LESLIE: And you know what? Don’t think I’m doing it every weekend. It’s not like I’m doing those things at that time. It’s just suggestions; ideas (Tom chuckles) so you keep the house well maintained or you’re aware of something that’s going on at this time of year and how you can best address it.
TOM: Well, and they’re all there on the Money Pit website at MoneyPit.com.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)