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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie and I are standing by to share our expertise, live from the Money Pit garage where we’re busy fixing up our studio.
LESLIE: Tinkering always.
TOM: That’s right. Always something going on here at Studio Money Pit. (chuckling) But we’re going to take a break to share with you some home improvement knowledge that we’ve picked up through our years of tinkering. And hopefully, can make some of your projects a little bit easier. Especially now that spring has officially sprung …
TOM: … into action.
LESLIE: That’s my spring is sprunging.
TOM: It’s time to clear up and clean out. Yes. You know, Leslie, when you explain the sound effects, (laughing) they kind of lose their impact.
LESLIE: Well, I wasn’t sure. You didn’t respond.
TOM: I got it.
LESLIE: I wanted to make sure it was in there.
TOM: No, the silence was the response, okay? (laughing)
LESLIE: Well, I bet you didn’t know that the spring cleaning custom actually goes all the way back to pioneer days when the spring thaw coincided with the major airing out of your house.
TOM: Imagine if we did that today. If we had to air out our …
LESLIE: We just opened everything up.
TOM: You know, years ago, I used to live in Germany. And they actually did … like one time a day, they would open all the windows of their house in the middle of the winter. And it was … really, you were considered to be like a dirty person if you didn’t do that. Like that was part of their tradition. And man, did they …
LESLIE: Every day?
TOM: … pay through the nose for heating bills, you know? There’s other … there’s smarter ways to actually get fresh air in your house than throwing your windows open in the middle of winter, I might add.
LESLIE: But it’s refreshing.
TOM: Well, it is. But you know, these days, it’s also an important perennial task. Things like cleaning the gutters out and cleaning up the walkways around your house. All sort of part of the spring cleaning routine.
LESLIE: Yeah, and you can keep your appliances running smoothly by cleaning the dust bunnies out of the refrigerator coils and the lint out of your dryer vent, which you should do every single time you use that dryer. And the filter on your furnace. Those are some things to keep things operating more smoothly.
TOM: And maybe your spring is going to involve hanging up some pictures, hanging up some shelves. So if you’re going to do one of those two tasks, we’ve got a great prize to give away this hour. It’s the multiTASKit from Ryobi.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s like having a third hand. So call us now for your chance to win this great prize. It’s worth just about 50 bucks, but it could be yours for free.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Mary in Illinois, you’ve got a leaky problem. Where is this happening? What’s going on?
MARY: Well, I’m in Carbondale, Illinois. And my bricks started leaking right around my chimney. And I didn’t really know what to do and how to do it and what I needed. What kind of material.
TOM: And that’s where roofs always leak. They don’t leak in …
LESLIE: Sounds like a flashing problem.
TOM: (chuckling) They don’t leak in the middle; they leak where things go through the roof, like chimneys and pipes and vents and things like that. What kind of chimney do have, Mary? Is it a brick chimney?
MARY: It’s a brick chimney.
LESLIE: Good guess, Tom.
TOM: Oh, yeah. You know what? I am psychic, baby. Hey, how about the flashing material? Is it aluminum? What’s it look like from the street? Can you tell?
TOM: How old …?
MARY: Well, it’s just a metal.
TOM: How old is the house? Like silver metal?
TOM: Yeah, that’s aluminum flashing. Well, there’s two ways to do this, Mary. The first way is for you to apply a sealant on top of the flashing.
LESLIE: Like a tar?
TOM: Yeah, like a tar sealant on top of the flashing. I generally don’t recommend that because it only gives you a temporary fix. The best way to do it is to have a professional roofer replace the flashing. Now, to properly flash a chimney, you need two pieces of flashing. You need a base flashing which goes under the shingle and against the chimney. And you need something called a counter flashing which goes inside one of the mortar joints of the chimney and then overtop of the base flashing. So those two pieces work together and it doesn’t matter if the roof expands or contracts or shifts or swells. Because it’s a two piece system, it sort of has that built-in expansion joint possibility and it’s not going to leak.
That would be the best way to make this repair; is to actually, physically replace the flashing. Because that’s obviously where the breakdown is occurring. I don’t know what kind of a flashing job they did to begin with. But if you replace that flashing with base flashing and counter flashing, that will do the trick.
I will caution you, though, if you contact a roofer to do this job and they try to sell you a new roof, your roof shingles are not worries in that your roof is leaking; your flashing is. So don’t let them talk you into a new roof unless you’re really ready to buy one. Okay?
MARY: No, I’m not.
TOM: Yeah, how …
TOM: How old is the roof now, Mary?
MARY: Probably … oh, 10 years or so.
TOM: Yeah. You ought to have another 10 years out of that. So that’s a perfect time just to do the flashing leak and leak repair …
TOM: … and it’s easy to do. Okay?
TOM: Thank you much for calling us.
MARY: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pat in Delaware finds The Money Pit on WDEL. And you’ve got an air conditioning question. What can we do for you?
PAT: Yes. I have a two-story colonial home and we had central air put in not too long ago. And at the very top of our steps, that goes up to our second floor, they put a hole in the ceiling about the size of a two by two inch … I mean two foot by two foot square.
PAT: That’s the attic.
PAT: I constantly feel cold air coming down. And to me they said, ‘Nope, that’s how the air conditioning and the heat in the winter … everything will go through. That’s your cold duct return.’
TOM: Yeah, that’s your cold air return. When you feel this cold air, you’re standing … are you standing like right under it? Sort of at the top of your stairs?
PAT: Yeah, it’s right over my linen closet and in the hallway, right …
TOM: Well, let me tell you what could be happening. As … if that system is on … do you only feel it when the system is on or do you feel it when it’s off?
PAT: No, when it’s on.
TOM: Well, when it’s on, that has a tremendous draw of air that goes in there. Because that’s where all of this air … you know, just hundreds of square feet or of cubic feet of air is being sucked up into that. And that actually causes somewhat of a breeze. And as that air moves across your body, what happens is it causes a condition known as evaporative cooling. Basically, as the moisture – the perspiration – evaporates off your skin, you get a chill as that warm air, even though it’s warm, is being pulled across that space. So if you’re feeling this when it’s on, it might actually be doing it’s job. And especially in the air conditioning mode, it’s exactly the right place they put it.
Now the only place that air could be leaking from the attic, might be around the outside of the box. That’s easy enough to tell because you would simply go up in the attic, you’d pull back the insulation around where the cold air return is attaching to the ceiling, and you’d see if it’s sealed in that area. And if it’s not – if there’s gaps – certainly, there could be some cold air from the attic that’s leaking in there.
But most likely, I think what you’re just feeling is the draft caused by the cold air return doing it’s job.
LESLIE: Is there anything she can put on there, like a diverter, to make it so that it doesn’t blow right on her head when she’s at the linen closet?
TOM: But it’s not blowing on her head. It’s blowing by her head. That’s … the return is sucking air up. So, not really.
TOM: You follow me?
PAT: But you said something about a box?
TOM: Well, the cold air return box – the duct box – is going to be attached to the ceiling. And if you go up in the attic and look where that area is connected, you might see some gaps around there. I doubt it, but that’s possible. The other thing you could do is pull the … pull the grill off the return air duct. You could see it from … you could see it from downstairs that way, too.
If you happen to see any gaps around that, the simple way to fix that is to go out and buy some expandable foam in a can; Great Stuff or something like that. It comes in a latex version, by the way, now; which is a lot easier to use and less staining. And you simply spray it in that gap between the duct and the ceiling. And then, it’s going to expand and kind of look a bit sloppy. Don’t touch it; just let it expand and let it dry. Then you can take a utility knife and cut it nice and clean and trim it off and then put the grill back on.
PAT: Well, the only thing is when I go up in the attic, there’s no box. It’s just a square hole with the grill showing on the underneath side.
TOM: Right. There’s a duct that goes in there, though.
PAT: No. It’s just a grill laying on a square hole.
TOM: There’s got to be a duct attached to it. It wouldn’t be a cold air return without a duct.
PAT: You’re getting constant cold air in the winter and in the summer you feel the hot air.
TOM: There’s got to be something attached to it.
PAT: So if there isn’t, then there’s …
TOM: Then it’s wrong. I can’t imagine in a million years why somebody would just put a hole in your ceiling. There’s got to be a duct attached to it.
PAT: I know. They said this had to be … it had to be able so it would suck it up the stair steps …
TOM: Well, I …
PAT: … and let the air get upstairs. And I said, ‘Well, isn’t the cold air going to go out into the attic?’ And they said, ‘No, because it’ll be evenly distributed when it hits the heat at the second floor.’
TOM: Well, I don’t know that that’s true. I mean you’ve got to take a careful look at that. But there’s got to be a duct attached to a cold air return or it’s not a return. Okay?
PAT: So it’s … duct work is …
TOM: If there’s a hole … if there’s a grill and hole up to your attic, it’s done wrong. But I can’t imagine in a million years why somebody would do that.
PAT: Okay, because this is an over 50-year-old home.
TOM: Doesn’t matter. There’s no reason to do it at all.
PAT: So duct work should be connected to all …
TOM: Duct work should be connected to that. The return duct should be connected to all of those registers. Yep.
PAT: I will check that out.
TOM: Alright, Pat. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
PAT: Thank you, sir. I love your show.
TOM: You’re welcome.
LESLIE: Hey, folks out there. Are your otherwise clean clothes sporting a mysterious white residue after they’re washed?
LESLIE: Well, don’t get agitated. We’ll help you solve that problem, right 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 this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Alright, listeners. So if your clothes seem clean after their spin through the washing machine, expect for this white residue and you can’t quite figure out where it’s coming from, we can clear up that mystery folks. That white residue is probably the result of washing clothes in hard water with a low-quality detergent and something that would contain sodium carbonate.
TOM: That’s right. Now, you have to be a little bit of a … of a chemist here. You’re going to have to actually read the label on the detergent. (laughing) But if you have hard water and you want to keep things clean, you’re looking for detergents that contain two things: aluminosilicates and sodium carbonate. They have to work together to soften the water. And you also want to remember, if you have hard water, to use the hottest water possible or to try the new detergents that are designed for just using cold water. And also, of course, make it easy on everybody in the house and just install a water softener. All of those things will stop that dreaded spotting problem in the laundry, when you get all that white stuff that ends up on your clothes. It’s just the minerals coming out of the hard water.
LESLIE: Yeah, but Tom, with a water softener … I know because of my traveling so much with While You Were Out – we’re in hotels that have different types of water and different parts of the country – I find, sometimes, that with a water softener, as you’re washing your hands, you almost feel like the water has a moisturizer in it. Did you ever find that?
TOM: Yeah. And that’s because you need a water softener. That water is still too hard and that’s why …
LESLIE: Oh, so that’s why. It’s hard water makes you feel like that.
TOM: That’s why it’s hard water, right. It’s feel very, very soapy and slimy all the time.
LESLIE: Yeah, it always feels like you just can’t quite get that detergent off of you. Same thing for your clothes.
TOM: (overlap) Yeah. Imagine how bad it would be if they didn’t have the water softener.
LESLIE: Ew. Terrible, terrible.
Alright, folks. Nothing to do with water but we’ve got a great prize. It’s the Ryobi multiTASKit. It could be one lucky caller’s, this hour, if you ask your question on air. And what happens is, the multiTASKit has an AIRgrip vacuum technology and it will adhere itself to your wall without marking it in any way on the wall surface. And then you can do four different things with this tool. It can be an extra hand. It can be a laser line to make sure that everything is on the straight. It can be a work light. And it can also be a little magnetic work tray so you can put the nuts, the bolts, the screws in there and they won’t go falling on the floor. It’s worth about 50 bucks but it could be yours for free. So call in now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will pull one name out of the Money Pit hardhat and award that person the multiTASKit from Ryobi. Now, if you ever cannot get through to us – perhaps the lines are a little bit busy – remember, you can call us 24/7 the same number, 888-MONEY-PIT. Talk to a live screener that works on the program. We will take your name and your number and we will call you back the next time we are in the studio. You can also log on to our website at moneypit.com; click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us your question that way.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Carl in Louisiana has a difficult problem. You’ve got mold between walls. Is this some hurricane damage?
CARL: No ma’am, it’s not.
LESLIE: Okay. Tell us how it happened or where you’re seeing it and what you’ve noticed.
CARL: I’ve noticed the walls warping. And the walls are like probably 5/32 or probably 1/8 panel walls.
CARL: And I see them warping. And actually, where the walls butt up together, they’re actually separating from each other. And what it is, it’s warping the walls. And I figure one day, you know, just pull the wall out and I saw it. My insulation had black mold growing on it.
CARL: I said, ‘Well, okay.? Well, you know, it’s a tin trailer I have on the side of it. It’s a older trailer and I said, ‘Well, I must have holes in the … on the tin, on the outside.’ Well, sure enough, I pull the walls out, I sprayed the tin outside with a garden hose and I found holes. So I silicone the holes up. I changed all the insulation and I’ve actually sprayed mold control out of a spray bottle.
CARL: And that stopped it for a little while. I put all new insulation – like I said – all new insulation. And I put the walls back – new walls; I bought new walls – put all the walls back. And I actually see it coming back; the black mold going through the panel walls again.
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like no matter how hard you tried to seal up those holes, you’re still getting holes in there. And the other thing that could happen is you could get condensation inside those walls. It’s very difficult, when the walls are already constructed, to deal with an issue like that.
One thing that comes to mind is that if you do end up taking some of that wall material off, is to not put paneling back or drywall back; but to put a product back called Dens Armor Plus. It looks like drywall but it has a fiberglass surface so it doesn’t grow any mold. It’s made by Georgia-Pacific. And this way, even if it gets damp in there, it’s not going to have the mold food that it needs.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s excellent for this type of application. It will really help you solve some of those problems.
TOM: Yeah. That’s probably your best bet because, this way, you won’t be feeding it. When you put drywall on or paneling on, that’s mold food. Especially drywall. That organic paper is just perfect. You get a little bit of moisture and the mold really goes for that. And the other thing is, the next time you insulate, put a vapor barrier over the insulation before you put the drywall up.
Now has this been consistent all the way around the home? Or is it one area worse than others?
CARL: It’s one area; mostly in the bathroom. I put the paneling throughout. See I was … I had bought the trailer probably secondhand. And I was doing some home repairs on it. And throughout the whole house I put … you know, different bedrooms I put different colors of paneling so I wouldn’t have to paint. And in the bathroom, I actually put plywood; 1/8 thick plywood, rough smooth side. And I came back and resanded the smooth side again, primed it and put two coats of paint. And I could actually see the black coming back through. You know, just take a … like a little damp cloth and it comes off. But I noticed the mold coming back in.
TOM: Hmm. Well, it sounds like the water is getting in there somewhere. Are you … in the bathroom, you said it’s the worse part of it. Are you dehumidifying the bathroom? Do you have a bath exhaust fan that takes the moisture out?
CARL: Yes, I do. I put one of those in.
TOM: And does it take it all the way to the outside?
LESLIE: It’s not venting into another room somewhere?
CARL: No, I don’t think it is.
TOM: Well, make sure. Because you just told us an important thing and that is that the mold problem is worse in the bathroom and you’re not too sure about the ventilation.
CARL: It might be the shower, maybe, also.
LESLIE: Right. But if you have proper venting in the bathroom, you can get rid of all that moisture directly to the outside. It sounds like, perhaps, it’s venting somewhere else inside the house.
TOM: And if that hot … that hot moist air is getting into that wall cavity, that could be a source of mold as well. So I hope those tips give you some place to start. But remember, don’t put drywall back or paneling. Put this Dens Armor Plus product in next time. Whenever you’re dealing with those moisture issues, that will never grow mold. And that’s the kind of product you need in a situation like this.
CARL: And where would I buy that paneling at?
TOM: That’s available at home centers across the country. You can go to a Home Depot and pick that up. Again, it’s called Dens Armor Plus. Carl, thanks again for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Michael in Nevada finds The Money Pit on the Discovery Channel Radio. How exciting. Tell us what’s going on in your house.
MICHAEL: Well, hi. I have a steel home and I wanted to make the outside of it look a little more traditional; like a stucco finish.
MICHAEL: I didn’t know if that was possible; to be able to do that or not.
TOM: Well, sure. It is. In fact, because it’s a steel home, you’re probably like one of the only homes in America that actually could successfully (laughing) use an exterior insulated foam siding system. That’s that EIFS system that’s dreaded in the east because people put it on houses that are made of wood and it causes the wood to rot. But it has been used successfully in commercial construction, which is much like built in the same way that …
LESLIE: That steel homes are.
TOM: … that steel homes are built. That’s right. If you don’t have organic material, you have less of an issue there. Basically, the way that’s done is it’s attached to the steel siding and then it’s covered with a stucco-like material – these foam panels that attach first – and it’s covered with it. The most important thing is you want the kind of siding that has drain channels in the back of it so any moisture gets in there, it’ll drain out the bottom.
Installation is key. You really need to find somebody that’s extremely experienced with it because it is a fairly difficult product to install. But I think you’re going to find that, once it’s installed, it’s drop-dead gorgeous. It is … no one’s ever complained that the stuff doesn’t look good. Just that it holds moisture and it causes wood buildings to rot. But if you don’t have a wood building, then I think you can go ahead and put it on.
MICHAEL: Great. Okay. That’s good advice. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome, Michael. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, hiring a handyman for your home repair project can be a good option if you’re lacking in the DIY department.
TOM: And if we can’t help you get through it. But if you are going to hire a handyman, there’s one major flaw in the process that can set you back both time and money. When we come back, we’re going to tell you how to make sure your handyman is tooled and ready for your project the minute he walks in that door.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. Study after study shows that as homes become tighter and more energy efficient, more contaminants become trapped inside. Aprilaire’s technologically-advanced electronic and media air cleaners are the best choice for maintaining healthy indoor air. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So if you’re going to pay a handyman by the hour, giving thorough information up front is going to save you and him time and money. And handymen really appreciate when you are communicating with them as clearly as possible. So the first thing you want to do is meet with him and lay out, in detail – and I say him; it could be the handywoman – but lay out, in detail, exactly what you need done and list all of the materials needed up front.
LESLIE: Yeah, and make sure you get, in writing, who exactly is going to provide these materials and include a maximum time frame and maximum cost for the completed job. This is going to eliminate any unnecessary trips to the hardware store and any last minute delays. So this is a great tip.
TOM: Yeah. And it doesn’t matter if you’re working with a handyman on a small project or a contractor on a bigger one. Sometimes contractors aren’t the best communicators. You can do the communicating for them and make both of your lives a lot more stress-free. So for example, with the handyman, once they leave your house, if you have a verbal agreement, you might just want to sit down, right then and there, and jot the guy a note and confirm the conversation. It could be done in a very positive and very friendly way. But it basically sets forth …
LESLIE: Taking minutes of all your meetings with the handyperson?
TOM: Yeah – oh, good tip. That’s right. Keep minutes. And that’s important, I think, not so much with a handyman; but I think with the … with the bigger repair jobs, as they go on; the additions and the remodeling. Keep a notebook of all the conversations.
LESLIE: Ah, but you said this and I said that. Then you’ll know exactly who said what.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So those are some ways to help the contractors communicate more clearly.
1-888-MONEY-PIT is the way you communicate with us. You can also log onto our website at moneypit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: In Tennessee, Walter listens to The Money Pit on Discovery Channel Radio. And you’ve got an electrical question. What do you want to talk about?
WALTER: Yes. I’ve got a security light that I wired to … you know, just like where a regular outside light would be wired to a switch.
WALTER: And I ended up buying an additional one to put on the backside. I have a guest house behind my main house and it’s kind of dark out there on my property. I was wondering, will I overload the circuit – far as if I join those two in together and put them on the same switch? It’s like the mercury vapor light and … one is a mercury vapor and then there’s another one that said it was more economical than a mercury vapor, that I bought a few weeks ago. I put it in the guest … I don’t even remember which … what they said it was; what kind of bulb it was.
TOM: Probably a compact fluorescent.
WALTER: That could be it. It’s supposed … I hadn’t taken it out of the box. It’s just one of those big old … like you almost would see in an industrial business park.
TOM: Right. Well, what else is on this particular circuit? Is it just a lighting circuit? Because, frankly, adding two lights to a lighting circuit is not very likely to overload it.
TOM: You know? Your typical minimum size circuit in a house is 15 amps.
TOM: And, typically, a circuit … a lighting circuit almost never pulls more than a couple of amps altogether.
TOM: So I wouldn’t be overly concerned about overloading the particular circuit. I can’t tell you for sure without knowing what else is on there. But it’s not likely that adding one light to an existing branch circuit is going to cause a problem. And if it does and it starts tripping, you’re going to know right away.
WALTER: Okay. So basically … I just, basically, run like a conjunction box and run some conduit (ph) down and then tie it all in and I should be fine long as that’s the only thing on that circuit.
TOM: Yeah, but don’t tie it in … don’t tie it in at the breaker because that would be what’s called a double tap. You can’t put two wires into the same circuit; you’ve got to tie it in before that in a properly secured and wired junction box.
WALTER: Okay. So the same thing would basically apply if you’ve got a single security light – far as a spotlight coming off of your house and you want to take that down and put a double security light? And I just found some economical … like the fluorescent bulbs that only burn like 26 watts, as opposed to the 90 watts.
TOM: That’s going to use less electricity, not more. Yes, the compact fluorescents use a quarter of the electricity compared to an incandescent.
WALTER: So, basically, it wouldn’t be a problem at all, then …
TOM: Not an issue.
WALTER: … if I went around all four corners of my house and upgraded to a two … two sockets, if you will?
TOM: No. No, especially if you’re going to use a compact fluorescent like that. Because the actual consumption is so much less than what you had now.
WALTER: Okay. And I should get brighter lighting also. Okay. Well, yeah, I was just wondering about that because I’m not … on the electrical aspect, I’m … obviously, you don’t want to burn anything up, you know, so …
TOM: Well, yeah. And I will say, if you’re uncomfortable doing this wiring and you don’t really know exactly what’s going on, then this is a smart thing to hire a professional to do. We don’t usually recommend that people who are not totally familiar with electrical wiring do jobs like this. I mean, certainly, it’s easy to remove and replace a couple of wires ….
LESLIE: Yeah, the consequences when something is done wrong are very great.
TOM: Yes, exactly. So we want to have you approach this very, very cautiously. Because, Walter, we need every single listener we have, okay? (chuckling)
WALTER: Right, right.
TOM: You hear me? (laughing)
WALTER: I understand.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Man, concrete is one tough material. But cleaning it can actually be tricky. Find out how to brighten your concrete, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being 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 prices. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Standing by awaiting your phone call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
Leslie Segrete: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So we’re talking about concrete. You know, it’s a very, very tough material but it’s also extremely porous material. And because it’s porous, it can easily hold a lot of dirt; it can hold a lot of moss. It can look pretty nasty, pretty quickly. If you want to keep it looking new for years, what you need to do is to apply a sealer when it’s brand new. But you’re thinking, ‘Well, Tom, my concrete is not brand new. It looks gross. What do I do?’ Glad you asked that question. (chuckling)
What you need to do is to pressure wash it using a bleach solution to break …
LESLIE: Do I need to be careful about the intensity of my pressure washer?
TOM: Yes, you do need to be careful about the intensity of your pressure washer because you actually can wear away the surface of the concrete. The secret here is to kind of work smart; not necessarily work hard. The reason you do that is you put down a bleach solution first and that breaks down the mildew that gets stuck in there and helps loosen up the dirt. You set the pressure washer on a wide spray, not a pointed spray. And then, once you get it clean – and I mean really clean – let it dry for a day or two. This should be … this should be a good summer project, like start working on it when the sun goes down and then the next day it really dries out. And then, maybe, the day after that, after it’s nice and dry, put down the sealer then. And guess what? It will take a lot longer for that concrete to get dirty the next time. You’ll be very, very happy. It’ll be bright and shiny and you will impress your neighbors. How about that?
LESLIE: Alright. Well, we’ve got another thing that’s going to make you happy. It’s the chance to win a prize …
TOM: I love prizes.
LESLIE: … at no cost to you. It’s a great prize, this hour. It’s the Ryobi multiTASKit. And it’s four tools in one and it attaches itself to your wall with the AIRgrip vacuum technology. It’s not going to leave any marks on that surface at all so you’ll never know that it was there. It can have a rotating laser head attachment to give you a straight line just about anywhere in that room. It can have a work light. It can have a magnetic tray. And the coolest thing is it has this little yellow claw-like thing that acts as an extra hand so you can use it to hold a long board; anything you need, it will help you with that. It’s worth about 50 bucks, but it’s yours for free if you ask your question on air and we draw your name from the Money Pit hardhat.
TOM: Call us now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s go back to the phones.
LESLIE: Ryan in Alaska listens to The Money Pit on KENI. And you’ve got some squeaky floors. Where are they?
RYAN: Oh, it’s all over my house. I put in some Pergo laminate flooring; the hardwood type flooring.
RYAN: And then … I just put it in a couple … like a month ago. And all the seams are squeaking.
TOM: So, Ryan, you think it’s the new laminate flooring that’s squeaking? It’s not the floor underneath?
RYAN: Yeah, I’m positive it’s the laminate flooring that’s squeaking.
RYAN: It’s a brand new house and the house never had any squeaks. Well, it’s about a two-year-old house but it never had any squeaks until I put the flooring in. But the flooring is flexing at the seams where they snap together.
LESLIE: They might have too much room.
TOM: Or not enough room.
TOM: I tell you what. I have never, ever heard anybody tell me that a laminate floor squeaks. Which leads me to believe that it … that it might be the installation here. Or it might be the subfloor underneath is now getting pressured in a new way and developing those squeaks. Now is this over a plywood subfloor?
RYAN: Yeah, it’s over a plywood subfloor and it’s … I didn’t use … it’s that laminate flooring that has the backing on it, you know.
TOM: Yes, has like a foam backing?
RYAN: Yeah. And then, at the store that I purchased the product from, they told me to put another piece of foam stuff underneath of that.
RYAN: And I think … and I’m wondering if that’s giving it too much play.
TOM: Yeah, I wonder if that’s the case because …
LESLIE: Yeah, because the reason why they put that underlayment directly on those planks on the laminate floor, is to get rid of the need for an additional underlayment. So there just might not be enough room. Because if the joints are bowing, something’s tight, I think.
TOM: Yeah, it shouldn’t be moving like that. It sounds like it might be a little bit too tight. Did you leave plenty of room at the edge of the floor?
RYAN: Yeah, I did. All over …