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: Standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now to tell us your home improvement story. You got a question? You got a story about a project that you started and maybe didn’t go in the right direction? Call us. We’d love to help you get the job down. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is moneypit.com.
Well, Leslie, we’ve all seen the building boom across the country. There are new homes going up everywhere you look. But before you buy a newly built home – or even one that’s, say, slightly used – you need to find out as much as you can about that builder.
LESLIE: Well, for example, did you know that water damage from faulty installation of doors and windows is the most expensive and common construction defect in America? Coming up later this hour, we’ll find out how to protect yourself from shoddy construction and be assured of a quality job on the home you’re buying.
TOM: And this hour we’re giving away a Peerless two-handle lavatory faucet, worth 65 bucks, to a caller who gets on the air with their home improvement question. So let’s go right to the phones. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Paul in Virginia has a noisy problem. What’s going on? The toilets are making some kind of noise when they’re filling?
PAUL: Yes, actually. We bought the house brand new about eight years ago. And back then, when you would flush the toilet it would take, literally, 10 to 15 seconds for the tank to fill back up …
PAUL: … and for the water to cut off, completing its cycle.
PAUL: Now, when you flush the toilet, it takes well over 60 seconds, a minute …
PAUL: … for it to fill.
TOM: Have you ever replaced the fill or the flush valve inside the toilet?
PAUL: Oh, okay.
LESLIE: Well, Paul, toilets need actual like annual maintenance, wouldn’t you recommend, Tom?
TOM: (laughing) Yeah, well maybe not every year. But the thing is, if you’ve had an eight-year-old fill or flush valve in there, you’re way past due, dude. You’ve got to replace those valves. The good news is it’s not that hard to do. I mean you basically go out and pick up one of those Fluid Master fill and flush valves. You can pick one up at your local home depot or at your local hardware store. And you turn the water off to the toilet. Follow the instructions on how to pull out that fill valve and the flush valve. It’s really super easy to do. I mean it’s literally like a 15 minute job, maybe 20 minute job.
The only place you can get yourself in trouble – and you’ll know it right away – is if you turn the water off to the toilet and the valve doesn’t turn off all the way. Well, you’re going to know that. And if that happens, then turn the main valve off to the house before you take the water connection apart.
But it’s really not that hard to do. You’ll have total control over how much water goes in that toilet and how quick it fills back up. And when you replace that flush valve … you could be losing some water, too. I would expect an eight-year-old flush valve to probably leak a lot and you wouldn’t know it. You get this condition called ghost flushing which basically means it sort of fills up on its own whenever it wants to because the seal is leaking.
So those are some pretty easy home improvements to do, Paul. And I think that’s going to probably solve your issue.
PAUL: Okay, excellent. Because as a matter of fact, now that you’ve mentioned it, it does have a tendency to trickle a little bit now. As in like the float isn’t coming up all the way.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. All part of the wear and tear of the most heavily used (laughing) and most misunderstood appliance in the house.
LESLIE: (overlapping) And most under-appreciated.
TOM: Under-appreciated, as well. That’s right.
PAUL: Yeah. Yes. And with four kids in the house, it definitely gets a workout.
TOM: Oh, man.
LESLIE: It gets its workout.
TOM: I thought it was like four years overdue. With four kids, it’s like 12 years overdue. (laughing)
Paul, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we have Dale, from Arkansas, who has a decorative question. What happened? You painted some paneling and now it’s falling off?
DALE: Basically that’s what’s happening. I used a sand paint finish and it was alright for about three months and then it just started to bow and come off the wall.
LESLIE: So the paneling itself.
DALE: Yes, the paneling is actually separating from the wall and bowing and all the seams have busted apart. And I’m looking for a solution short of removing the paneling and refinishing the walls.
TOM: Maybe your paneling’s trying to tell you something, Dale. (laughing)
LESLIE: The 70s are over.
TOM: That’s right. Dale, it’s time to put me to rest. I’ve served too long and it’s time for a decorating upgrade.
LESLIE: Well, at least it’s telling you that the paneling isn’t attached in such a horrible way that it’s unable to come off the wall.
TOM: Yeah. Actually, that could be good news because I can’t tell you how many questions we get about … from people that want to actually replace their paneling. It sounds to me like, for whatever reason, you’re getting expansion and contraction that this thing is popping off. Is there anything else structurally going on that we ought to know about? Any moisture problems? Foundation movement? Cracks, shifts? Anything different in the environment of this particular room that could cause this movement?
DALE: Not to my knowledge. It … the area is very high humidity and I have two air conditioning units in the house.
TOM: Yeah, in one breath you say not to your knowledge; in the other breath you say high humidity …
LESLIE: (overlapping) High humidity.
TOM: … two air conditioning units churning away. High humidity is going to make stuff swell.
LESLIE: Well, and another thing, with those paint finishes that have the sand in it, they tend to be very, very moist because there’s so much sand in the finish itself. I mean, basically, they’re just adding sand to the paint compound. So what’s happening is there might just be a lot of moisture still contained within that sand; especially since it’s such a humid room that it’s just causing the paneling to become totally inundated with moisture.
TOM: Or the moisture can get behind the treatment and therefore be trapped in the paneling; and that makes it even worse. If you’re looking for a solution, my only suggestion would be that as these sheets loosen up, that you …
LESLIE: Take advantage of it.
TOM: Yeah, take … well, if you don’t want to take it all the way down, what I was going to suggest, Leslie, is to do what we really hope you never, ever find when you want to remove paneling and that is to put glue behind it.
LESLIE: (overlapping) Glue it! Ooh, I’m not listening.
TOM: But if you put glue behind it, remember, if you ever decide to take that down …
LESLIE: It’s going to be a pain.
TOM: … you’re going to have a big, stinking mess and you’re not going to be able to repair the walls. If you use like a liquid nail or something like that behind it.
DALE: Seems to me the paneling was put up to hide a multitude of sins …
DALE: … that were … or someone that’s lazy and doesn’t want to repaste. So I’m … I was trying to do the economical thing and paint the paneling and hide it.
TOM: Well, I think you might find that removing that paneling – that was a very popular product for many, many years – is not that terrible of a job and the walls may not be in horrible shape when you get it done. If it’s coming off so easily, it might be pretty easy to pull that stuff down, simply spackle the holes, prime the walls. And then I would put a good quality flat finish on it. If you choose a flat enamel … the difference between regular flat and flat enamel is that flat enamel is washable. I would not use anything with a sheen to it; even a slight sheen is going to show …
LESLIE: Well, because any sheen will show any sort of markations on the wall. Whether it’s a ding, a dent, a scratch; you’ll see it.
TOM: Exactly. So use a flat enamel, which is a good quality flat. And I think you’re going to be very happy and find out that it’s not that terrible of a job, especially if these walls are coming off right now.
LESLIE: Even the sand treatment. You can get that … it’s a flat finish but it has a texture to it. So if you can ensure that it will have proper drying time, that will also go a long way to hide any sort of marring on the wall itself.
TOM: Yeah, Dale, but whatever you do, make sure you put a primer on there first because that’s going to neutralize whatever was there first. And it will ensure that whatever paint or sand treatment that you put on there sticks properly. Okay, Dale?
DALE: Oh, I was hoping for an easier solution. (laughing) I just … I did crown molding and the whole bit …
TOM: Oh, man.
DALE: … and now I … now I’m back to square one.
TOM: (very low audio) Well, you know what?
DALE: But you remember the story about … the Li’l Abner comic strip?
DALE: The little guy that ran around with the little black clouds raining on him all the time?
TOM: (laughing) Is that the way you feel? (laughing)
DALE: That’s the story of my life, it seems like.
LESLIE: Aw, Dale.
TOM: Well, let’s … let’s try to change your luck and make it not the story of your home improvement life, Dale. Let’s bite the bullet on this one and go ahead and pull that paneling down. You can save the crown molding and put it back up when you’re done. It’s just going to actually be a little bit …
TOM: It’ll be a little bit shy, that’s right. It’ll be a little bit shy. So you could …
LESLIE: But that’s okay because you can still utilize the corners …
LESLIE: … and just on your longer runs, do a scarf joint.
TOM: Exactly. Exactly. So you could actually still use the molding. That’s right. Alright, Dale, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So are you thinking of painting? So you’re doing some carpeting. Maybe you’re going to be laying down some wood floor. Well let us do the math for you. Check out moneypit.com for estimators and calculators on everything from project budgets to exactly how much paint you’ll need to get that job done. It’s in the estimator and calculator section of moneypit.com.
LESLIE: Hey, Tom.
LESLIE: Tell me, please, that you don’t still have Super Bowl party leftovers in your fridge.
TOM: No, I changed them … I took them out. But, as I was removing them, I noticed that that shade of green (laughing) was exactly what I was looking for, for the master bedroom. And so I – quick – grabbed my paint chart (laughing), compared the mold to the paint color and now I know.
LESLIE: (overlapping) Well, you know, if you bring that mold to some … any sort of large home improvement store, they might even be able to match a paint to that.
TOM: That’s true. Can you please …?
LESLIE: So you don’t even need to get out your paint samples.
TOM: Can you scan my mold, please? (laughing)
LESLIE: Ugh, gross.
TOM: I like this color.
LESLIE: Well, hopefully, your Super Bowl leftovers are not still in your fridge. It’s been a long time, folks. Throw them out.
Well, we’ll tell you how to create a yummy smell instead of that disgusting, moldy, bad food smell; something that might even remind you of something your grandma made. Well, we’ll tell you how to spruce up that stinky fridge, after this.
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. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, with a full house like mine – with wife, three children and a large dog named Spot (laughing) – the fridge always seems to have a few science experiments going on inside. But there is a great way to freshen it up, folks. A little vanilla extract goes a long way.
LESLIE: Mmm, it smells so good.
TOM: Yeah, it does. Smells like cookies – in removing musty, mildew smells from your refrigerator. Here’s what you do. For a fresh start, you simply empty your refrigerator and clean all the surfaces with a solution of water and baking soda. Then, soak a paper towel with vanilla and leave it in the fridge over night. Come on back the next morning, you’ll be greeted with a very fresh, delicious scent that will make you want to go out and get some doughnuts.
LESLIE: Mmm, I can smell it already. That smells fantastic. Well, for a fresh look instead of a scent in your bathroom, call us now and get in on this great prize giveaway we’re offering. If you ask your question on the air, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Peerless two-handle chrome lavatory faucet. It’s worth $65.
TOM: (overlapping) Now, Leslie, what exactly is a lavatory?
LESLIE: Mmm, it’s a lavatory.
LESLIE: It’s the bathroom.
TOM: The bathroom, the bathroom. Because I seem to recall that – you know, that’s a word we don’t use too often.
LESLIE: It’s not in my daily vocabulary.
TOM: A lavatory. Pardon me, may I use your lavatory?
LESLIE: Ooh, your lavatory is so beautiful. (laughing) It’s not institutional at all, like the name implies.
TOM: Excuse me, do you have a lavatory in this restaurant? (laughing)