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, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement projects at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. This show is like a power washer for your to-do list. So what do you want to get done? Let us help. You’re working on your roof. You’re working on your floors. You’re working on your siding. You’re picking up a paintbrush. You know, if your paint scheme looks like it came out of a Las Vegas casino (Leslie chuckles), we could help you with that, too.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Unless it’s your taste. We can just help you freshen it up. (laughing)
TOM: (laughing) 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We have a great hour planned for you. First up, did you know that half of all fall injuries happen at home? We’re going to help you get rid of trip and fall hazards and keep everyone safe. We’ll tell you exactly how to do that.
LESLIE: And you’ve probably heard about the health problems that come from living with mold. Well, you might know that it only needs two things to thrive: food – which can be any organic matter in your home like wood, paper; you find it just about anywhere – and water. You know, you can’t control that food source because then your house would be very blank; not to mention not having any walls. But you could stop the water from coming in. We’re going to tell you what you need to know, next.
TOM: And did you ever notice when a major storm wipes out an area, mobile homes or other low income housing are the first to go? Well, later this hour, we’re going to meet a beauty queen who is part of an effort to build safe and affordable homes for those in hurricane-prone areas. And so you’re saying, ‘What exactly do beauty queens know about home improvement?’
LESLIE: She’s knows a lot.
TOM: Well, this one knows plenty. She’s Kristin Beall. She’s a former Miss Florida and a third-generation home builder who is working to make sure homes are both safe and affordable.
LESLIE: And we’re going to be giving away an anti-shock hammer from the folks at Stanley. It’s worth 20 bucks.
TOM: So call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’re going to talk flooring with Susan in Michigan. What can we do for you?
SUSAN: Hi. I have a question about our basement or our downstairs. We have carpet down there now. When we built our house it was concrete and they attached a subfloor to that and we carpeted it and now we would like to get rid of the carpeting. And we don’t know – we’ve been told different things on whether or not you can have tile or Pergo in a lower level basement. And we wanted to know what would be the best thing, if there is anything better than the other.
LESLIE: Well, how’s your flooring situation now? You got a lot of moisture down there? Is that rug in good shape? Because I had a carpet in my basement and we had a pretty heavy rainstorm and, for some reason, all that water found its way inside. And for the first time in the years that this house has been standing, we had a flood. So a carpet’s not exactly the best choice; though it does make it feel cozy. I do agree.
TOM: Yeah, but all the other flooring choices that you mentioned are excellent. You mentioned Pergo. That’s a laminate floor. We love laminate floors. It’s a perfect floor for a basement. Second to that, if you want to have hardwood, you can, in fact, put hardwood floor in the basement but you can’t put solid hardwood. What you would be installing …
LESLIE: It has to be engineered.
TOM: … is engineered hardwood, which is sort of a laminated hardwood. It’s sort of like plywood, where different layers of hardwood are built up. Frankly, once it’s in you won’t be able to visually tell the difference between that and solid. But because it’s laminated, it’s dimensionally stable. So those are also good flooring options. And you know, ceramic tile works as well.
LESLIE: The thing you’re going to have the most problem with is the carpeting you’ve got down there now.
TOM: Yeah, you got to get that up.
SUSAN: OK. That’s going to be hard to get up?
TOM: If it was glued down it would be. Sometimes those basement carpets are glued down. If it’s just regular wall-to-wall, then it shouldn’t be as much of an issue.
SUSAN: And then if my husband wanted to do the engineered hardwood, is that something that they sell at the big box stores or you have to …
TOM: Yes. Yes. It’s absolutely available and, in fact, there’s a new product out from Armstrong Floors that’s called a locking hardwood that’s pretty cool.
LESLIE: And it snaps together quite easily.
TOM: Yeah, it doesn’t even need an glue or nails or staples or anything.
TOM: It goes together like a puzzle piece.
SUSAN: OK, great. Alright, well thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Susan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Ann in Alabama’s got a problem with the door. What can we do for you?
ANN: The trailer is about three years old. We have this white door on the front. Suddenly developed this rectangular stain; purple stain. And we’ve done everything we know of from baking soda to Clorox to mildew washes. It may fade a little bit but it comes back.
LESLIE: What is the door made of?
ANN: Oh, gosh. Whatever trailer doors are made out of. The trailer’s only three years old.
TOM: So it’s probably a metal door, then?
TOM: It sounds to me like – I’m wondering if she has artillery fungus on that.
LESLIE: Would – is there mold …
ANN: Would it be in a pattern?
LESLIE: Artillery fungus. Do you – do you have a lot of mulch and potting soil really close to where the door is?
ANN: No, no. And this is a new park and it’s mainly no trees or shade or anything.
TOM: Well, if you’ve cleaned it off and it’s not working then I think what I would recommend is that you prime the door with a good quality primer and then repaint it.
ANN: Like Zinsser or something?
TOM: Yeah, a Zinsser primer like Bin or KILZ or something of that nature.
ANN: Right, right.
TOM: And then repaint it. It definitely sounds more like a growth than anything else, but I think that if you prime it and repaint it you may want to consider using a mildicide-based paint, too. That would definitely slow anything else from coming back. Prime it first. Don’t forget the priming step because if you don’t that stain will pull …
LESLIE: Because that’s going to seal it all in.
TOM: Yeah, it’ll pull right through. Clean it off, prime it, paint it. You’ll be good to go.
Ann, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Violet in Maryland, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
VIOLET: Here’s my question. In the house we are in now we have air and we have heat. On the first floor, as you come in the door, we have to close up all the checks (ph) on the first floor by putting boxes or books – telephone books – on the checks (ph) in order to get the heat or the air to come up to the third floor. And …
TOM: So you have to close off the ducts on the first floor to get the air to go up to the second floor? Is that what you’re saying?
VIOLET: We cover them with books. We turn them off but then we cover them with telephone books and boxes. (chuckling) In order to get the air to come upstairs.
TOM: Well, you have a completely imbalanced HVAC system. You don’t have to use telephone books and boxes. There are dampers that can be installed that should be giving you the control to get the airflow just right. Usually if you have heating that’s uneven – too hot, too cold – the system is way out of whack on the balance side.
Now it might be that you need additional registers. You might need additional dampers, which is the replacement for those boxes and books that you’re using to cover the top of the registers with. It might mean that you need an additional return duct which takes air back and recirculates it. But your system is not balanced and that’s what you need. You need to have it properly balanced, Violet. It’s not terribly difficult to do but you need to have an expert in there that understands what’s happening and can really analyze what’s going on and get you straightened out. OK?
VIOLET: Thanks so much. God bless you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Listening in on WABC, we have Jacqueline in New Jersey who’s doing some work. How can we help?
JACQUELINE: Well, we put a product called Duradek on our roof. And I wanted to see what you knew about it. We’re going to turn the top of our roof into a deck at one point and that’s the reason we chose Duradek; because of the walkability because it has a texture and …
LESLIE: It’s very slip-resistant. They use it a lot of times for wheelchair ramps.
JACQUELINE: And so we still have to put the rails on.
JACQUELINE: But we had been told that you can take screws and screw rails directly down into the roof; that somehow it doesn’t cause holes in the roof; that it just stretches.
TOM: Jacqueline, that’s actually not unusual. Some of those roofing materials, like Duradek, are sort of self-healing; where you can actually drive a fastener through them. What I would suggest you do is contact the product manufacturer. Their website is Duradek.com – D-u-r-a-d-e-k.com. Their phone number is 800-338-3568. That’s 800-338-3568. And ask them for the installation specifications. And they’re going to have a detail on how to attach railings through the material itself. It may be that you need to do nothing but drive the screw right through or there may be an additional piece of detailing that has to be done around that. But it’s actually not unusual. Some of these materials are so flexible today that they’re sort of self-healing. And even though you drive through them with a screw or a nail, they don’t leak.
JACQUELINE: Hmm. That’s great. So, we will very soon have a deck on our roof with a beautiful view of the bay. (chuckling)
TOM: Well, that will be very cool.
LESLIE: Yay. Enjoy it.
TOM: That’ll be very cool.
JACQUELINE: Well, thank you very much, guys. I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
I wonder how she’s going to get up on that roof.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I hope they built a staircase along with this new area.
TOM: I love – I love, you know, the spiral staircase up to the roof deck. That’s kind of cool. Roof deck and a hot tub.
LESLIE: (chuckling) That sounds like a fun weekend.
TOM: That would be the life.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit and we are getting you and your yard ready for the season. So call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week, pretty much anytime you darn well feel like it at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Leslie, here’s an interesting stat. Half of all falls happen at home. These are falls that are serious enough to send people to the emergency room. The AARP says there are very simple things you can do to prevent the most common causes of these accidents. We’ll cover those, next.
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: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, if you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, one caller that we’re going to talk to this hour is going to win a Stanley FatMax Xtreme anti-vibe hammer. It’s worth 20 bucks. It’s precision balanced so it feels really comfortable and it’s got an anti-vibe grip, which is going to reduce the shock at the impact that you feel any time you hammer in a nail. Can’t help you if you hammer your thumb but we can help reduce that shock of a lot of repetitive motion. All you have to do is ask your question on air to win. So call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
We were speaking of trip-and-fall hazards throughout your home. There are lots of them. It’s not good since falls are one of the most common household accidents that send Americans to the emergency room.
LESLIE: In fact, the folks at AARP say that a third of all home accidents can actually be prevented. There are a couple of simple things that you can do right now to decrease the chances of you or your family members from taking a tumble. For example, make sure that all of your throw rugs are secure. If you love them, I say use them. You want to make sure, though, that those rugs are going to be held down with double-sided tape and/or skid-resistant padding underneath them. Just make sure they’re really stuck down there well and you’re not going to trip over them.
And also, think about rearranging your furniture to make sure that you’ve got clear and wide passageways. This is going to avoid tight spaces and keep you from bumping into things.
LESLIE: And you know, I spent 20 years as a home inspector early on in my career. And this is something that I found time and time again – electrical cords running under rugs, under furniture …
LESLIE: That is such a fire hazard.
TOM: … under rugs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up rugs and pulled out burned wires from underneath them. So, be very careful with the placement of those cords. Not only are they a trip hazard, they are also a fire hazard. Also install night lights and use the highest wattage bulb approved for lamps or light fixtures.
Make sure your home is free of trip-and-fall hazards and it will keep your entire family safe. If you want more tips, you can go to the website for AARP.org. It’s AARP.org/HomeDesign. That’s AARP.org/HomeDesign.
LESLIE: Lisa in Minnesota finds The Money Pit on KNUJ. What’s happening at your money pit?
LISA: (inaudible), Minnesota. We have a lot of iron in our water. So, my toilets are always dirty, brown colored.
LISA: And my sinks are also getting stained and it’s tough to get them off. I can’t get it off with cleanser.
TOM: Have you tried a product, Lisa, called CLR?
LISA: CLR? No, I haven’t tried CLR.
TOM: Yeah, CLR works really good for rust stains. It stands for calcium, lime, rust. It’s one of these products that’s been around forever; inexpensive; very readily available; a real staple that should be in your cleaning products all the time. That’ll do it.
LESLIE: Well, you have to be really careful; especially with your plumbing. Because if you put something too harsh down the toilet, you can decay all of the …
TOM: Working parts.
LESLIE: … working parts and cause things to break down. Something like CLR you’re going to be able to use that to clean the sink, you can put some down the toilet itself. So it’s a good thing. You’ll see it gets rid of a lot stuff.
TOM: Yeah, that’ll take care of it all. Lisa, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Brian in Minnesota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you?
BRIAN: Yes, I live in northern Minnesota and I’m finishing a bathroom in my basement.
BRIAN: Wondering what my flooring options are so that it won’t be too cold to walk in there when you get out of the shower.
TOM: Well, first of all, basement flooring options, we would not recommend carpet because it’s generally a bad idea for a basement. Other options would be laminate floor or engineered hardwood floor. Now, for laminate floor – and I think for engineered as well –
LESLIE: Yeah, but they’re still all going to be cold.
TOM: Well, what I was going to say is you can actually put in radiant heat under those floors. There are radiant heating systems – 120-volt radiant heating systems, electric heating systems – that can go under those floors and be on thermostats so you can actually have a warm floor. So if that’s a concern, either of those systems will take that type of a heating system. If you’re just looking for something that is just going to be a touch warmer than the concrete, the other thing about laminate floors and also the engineered hardwoods is that they have an underlayment which usually has some insulation quality to it; not a lot …
LESLIE: Yeah, not too much.
TOM: … but it will provide a barrier between the laminate finish floor and the solid concrete below.
LESLIE: But I would say especially for a bathroom, if you’ve got it in your budget and it doesn’t terribly boost up your budget too much, look into radiant heating options because they’re panels that can be installed yourself; some of them get connected directly to your steam heating or whatever your heating system is. Even if it’s electric and that’s your only option, as long as you just sort of kick it on when you’re using that bathroom, you’re not going to see too much of an increase in your energy cost. But it will keep your feet a heck of a lot warmer.
BRIAN: OK, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Listening in on WABC, we’ve got Jeannette in New Jersey who, perhaps, has a structural problem. Let’s find out. What’s happening at your money pit?
JEANNETTE: Well, I listen to your program all the time. I really enjoy it. I have a two-story colonial with a basement. The house is about 30 years old. I bought it about 10 years ago. The front stoop going into the house is about – it’s just one step high and it’s cement and it was put there when the house was built. And it seems to be tilting in toward the house.
TOM: Is it causing water problems in your basement or crawl space?
JEANNETTE: Not at all. Not at all.
JEANNETTE: It looks like it tilted in when they first built it.
TOM: Well, that’s actually not unusual, Jeannette. That’s called rotation. And what happens is when you construct a house you excavate all of the soil at the foundation perimeter. And then, after the foundation is built the soil is pushed back against that wall. But because it’s been disturbed it’s not as compacted as the virgin soil is in the other areas of the yard. So what happens is the masons will typically pour porches on top of that and over the years they settle. They’re either going to settle and rotate in or they’ll settle and rotate out. I’ve seen it happen both ways.
It’s generally not a structural problem; although sometimes when it tilts into your house, it tends to act as a watcher catcher and sort of run water against the foundation. If you’re not seeing that …
LESLIE: And bring it right inside.
TOM: Yeah, if you’re not seeing that, then this is really just a cosmetic issue.
JEANNETTE: So, what my question is, can I have them put more concrete on top of that to level it out?
TOM: You …
LESLIE: Well, it might not stick to the existing stoop.
TOM: (overlapping voices) How – yeah. It depends on how much leveling you need. First of all, you can’t just use concrete. You’d have to use an epoxy compound.
LESLIE: Because new concrete on old is not going to adhere. It’s just going to chip right off.
TOM: Yeah. There’s a product called AboCrete – A-b-o-C-r-e-t-e – that’s an epoxy patching compound that can be floated on top of that and that will adhere. But it really depends on how much of this you need to build up. I mean if you’ve got to build up a couple of inches, I just assume tell you to take it down and pour a new one; pour a new stoop altogether. It wouldn’t be really that much more expensive.
JEANNETTE: Because what I was thinking of is having a wooden stoop put over that.
TOM: Well, you could do that as well. As long as you can still, you know, have a reasonable step height and all of that. I’ve seen that done, too. But you know what? If you’re going to put the wooden stoop over it, I’d just take it out. I know it looks like something that’s impossible to do but believe me, it’s not that hard to take one of those stoops apart with a sledgehammer or a rented jackhammer. They actually come apart fairly quickly. I don’t like the idea of building wooden porches just to surround old concrete stoops like that. I would just …
LESLIE: Yeah and especially if it’s tilting toward the house. If there ever does become a water issue, now you’re dealing with removing everything.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, now you can’t deal with it. Yeah, I would just pull it out, Jeannette. If you don’t want to have concrete back, have it broken out. I mean it’s literally a couple of hours of work to take it out.
JEANNETTE: OK. It’s probably not in there that deeply, then.
TOM: That’s what I’m – oh, no. See, it’s not part of the foundation. It’s only going to be minimally deep. It’s not even connected to the foundation. It’s just sitting outside your house. That’s the way stoops are built.
JEANNETTE: OK. And then what would they fill it in with?
TOM: Well, it depends on what you want. You mentioned having a wooden deck or a wooden stoop. You can just build that or you could rebuild it with concrete. It depends on what you want. Anything you want they can do.
JEANNETTE: Well, thank you very much. You’ve been a great help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jeannette. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next – well, you think a hurricane-proof home has to cost an arm and a leg? It doesn’t. We’re going to meet Kristin Beall; a former Miss Florida and a third-generation homebuilder who builds homes for working families that will stand up to any weather, after this.
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TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Making good homes better at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Besides helping you make a good home better, this hour we’re also going to help you make a good home stronger.
LESLIE: And safer too, Tom. In fact, our next guest, not only she is just stunningly gorgeous but Kristin Beall is also a licensed contractor who’s family has been in the building business of building affordable homes in Central Florida for half a century.
TOM: Kristin is taking it one step further, working to make affordable homes that are also storm-ready.
Hi, Kristin. Welcome to the program.
KRISTIN: Hi, Tom, Leslie. Good to be here.
TOM: So you have a program in Florida with your company, which we should mention is called Homes by Her, where you build storm safe homes. What exactly is a storm safe home and how does it differ from, say, any other home that you might build in Florida?
KRISTIN: Well, in Florida we’re really lucky that we have very good building codes. And the builders are building stronger and stronger houses. However, the storm safe homes that I’m building exceed our local codes, which make them safer and more secure for families.
LESLIE: Well, the codes are really just a low-end guideline, correct?
KRISTIN: They’re a minimum. They really are. And it’s great to have minimums. In fact, there are quite a few states across the country that don’t have building codes. So in Florida, consumers are lucky that there is a minimum standard that homebuilders must build to. However, I wanted to go a step further. Unfortunately in Florida, even just about a month ago, we saw people lose their lives here in tornadoes in homes. And you know, I want to do something that can really help to save lives.
TOM: It’s refreshing to hear a builder admit that building codes are a minimum. Because too many times, in the experience I’ve had, builders brag about something being up to code …
LESLIE: ‘But we built to code.’
TOM: … as if it is the gold medal standard. And my position on that is that’s like your kid coming home from school and saying, ‘Guess what, Pop. I got a …’
LESLIE: I got a C?
TOM: ‘I got a D.’
KRISTIN: I passed. (chuckling)
TOM: Ain’t you proud? (chuckling) You know?
KRISTIN: I passed. But I want to get an A.
KRISTIN: And it is – it’s so very true. And you know, as a builder, I know that my name is going to be on this house long after I’m gone. And I really – that’s really important to me. And look, no home is totally hurricane-resistant, tornado-resistant. But I can go a step further as a builder and make a home safer.
TOM: Well, let’s talk about some of the elements that make up a storm safe home. First of all, you say you have a concrete safe room inside the home. Is that for your valuables or for your persons?
KRISTIN: It actually can double as a vault because it has a 250-pound steel door that is engineered for 250-mile-per-hour winds. What’s great about this room is that it’s integrated into the house. It’s not a separate place that you have to go that gets musty because it’s not air-conditioned. It’s a space that’s integrated into the home; usually in a master bedroom closet and sometimes into a laundry room, depending on the layout of the home.
KRISTIN: And it’s a space that is utilized every day but it is built extremely strong. It has a separate footer system. It is – actually has control joints so it’s disconnected from the structure of the house.
LESLIE: So if the rest of the house were to collapse or just vanish, it would stay secure.
KRISTIN: It is. It is a separate entity unto itself. And most importantly, it has a four-inch cap of concrete that is reinforced with 5/8-inch rebar – number rebar – running in a cage every four inches in the ceiling. Because we see so many lives lost because trees fall on houses. And even if you have really strong concrete walls, those trusses are still made out of wood and when a tree falls on a home, that’s when people are hurt. So this roof that is made of concrete that’s reinforced with steel, it’s so very, very important.
TOM: Some of the other elements: window protection and roofs. Let’s talk about the roof design because too many times you see roofs ripped right off of homes in storms. Your roof design is a little bit different and designed to prevent some of that uplift.
KRISTIN: Well, and first of all, one of the most vulnerable areas – if not the most vulnerable area on a home – are the gable ends. The gable ends of homes tend to give. In fact, I have seen pictures of homes that have gone through storms. The concrete block walls are standing; they’re still strong. And that wood gable end that runs from, let’s say, right above the garage door up to the roof line, that triangle has collapsed. And that has been, in research and testing, the weakest point in the home. So we’re actually balloon-framing these homes. So all the gable ends that are decorative are built out of concrete block, which makes them much, much stronger.
The roof system itself, the roof trusses are engineered for 130-mile-per-hour winds. We’re in a 110-mile-per-hour wind zone in Central Florida. The closer to the coast that you get, the higher wind load requirements are …
KRISTIN: … for building and engineering. We’re in 110-mile-an-hour wind zone. We’re exceeding that by 20 miles an hour just from the engineering of the trusses. Then we’re using, instead of an OSB or a half-inch plywood, we’re actually using a 5/8-inch plywood which is a thicker roof decking. We’re using eight [tiny ring shank] (ph) nails in a tighter nailing pattern; four inches and six inches on center as opposed to six and eight which, most of the time, is standard. So you’ve got more nails holding that decking on.
Then we line the decking with a peel and stick water barrier like a rubber roof.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Like an additional membrane.
KRISTIN: (overlapping voices) Then on top of that we’re putting 130-mile-per-hour impact-resistant shingle, actually developed by Owens Corning, that was developed for the Midwest where they have a lot of hail. But because it’s a much denser, heavier shingle, it performs very well in high winds. And so we’re putting that as standard. Of course, all of these things are coming standard in these homes.
LESLIE: Now Kristin, all of these things seem like, wow, they’re state of the art and fantastic and you’re on the cutting edge of building and safety design. But how does it affect the cost? I mean how does this sort of go to the consumer? Are these going to be, you know, high end, pricey?
KRISTIN: Well, we’re an affordable home builder. That is our niche. And my grandfather was known as the father of affordable housing in this area. And so that’s something that was very important to us, this price point, and I really wanted to offer this to working families, to first-time homebuyers, et cetera. So, these homes are starting in a very affordable price point. They’re small and mid-size homes. They start at 1,300-square-feet as living area and they go up to about 2,000. And yes, do these features add a little bit of cost? Yes, absolutely. Because, obviously, they are valuable. The roof shingles themselves are almost double the cost of standard roof shingles.
KRISTIN: However, we’ve put the money in the envelope. And so, a lot of the inside, interior details that people would – may want – they may want Corian countertops or they want upgraded lighting fixtures. We’re putting in Formica countertops. We’re putting in basic lighting fixtures to keep these homes – you know, to keep them affordable. Because we know that once you get into a home, you’re going to add paint; you’re going to add (inaudible); you’re going to add …
LESLIE: And you can dress them up.
KRISTIN: … those lighting fixtures and you’re going to change the faucets. That’s going to happen anyway. So …
TOM: But you can’t add a concrete safe room.
KRISTIN: (overlapping voices) But you can’t go back and add a safe room like this or, you know, add a structure like this.
TOM: Kristin Beall, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you want more information about Kristin’s homes, you can visit HomesByHer.com. That’s HomesByHer.com.
LESLIE: OK, Money Pit listeners. Well, before our great interview, we were talking about water and mold and moisture because water coming into your home is one of the quickest ways to create problems for your house. Not only can it cause structural damage but it can actually encourage mold growth. It means it can thrive in there, folks. Well we’re going to tell you how to avoid all of those downfalls, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is 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: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You might just win that Stanley anti-vibe FatMax Xtreme hammer we’re giving away worth 20 bucks.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. Well, before the break we were talking about water, mold, structural damage. Lots of bad things can happen when it gets into your house. And it’s the quickest way to create a ton of problems that you may or may not see. Not only, like I said, does it cause structural damage but it can encourage mold growth behind the walls where you can’t even see it. And that is a potential health hazard.
Something as simple as the right flashing can make a huge difference. When you think of flashing, you’re probably thinking of that old metal kind. It’s the first thing that probably is popping into your mind. And yeah, it’s still around. But what you need to know when you’re thinking about flashing is that there are much more advanced and premium materials available on the market that are going to do a much better and more efficient job of keeping that water out. And one that works very well is Grace Vycor Plus.
TOM: That’s right. This type of flashing is not only self-adhering but it’s also very flexible and that makes for an easier installation. You know, the flashing has to curve around the window sills, the door frames, even customized-shaped windows and doors. And since these products are self-adhering, they don’t require special tools for installation. And the easier the products are to install the more effective …
LESLIE: And the more likely they’re going to be installed properly.
TOM: Well yeah, that’s what I was going to say. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen, you know, products that were designed that were just too difficult to install for the workforce that was out there. So when you have a material that’s flexible and effective, like Vycor Plus, it just makes a big difference because it actually is going to be installed right regardless of the skill level of the tradesman.
You know, Grace makes a specific type of flashing for even the detail areas; like around the plumbing vents and stuff like that, where the roofs make odd sort of turns. All of these areas are areas that were weak links and that where water can get in. You can get a product like Detail Roof Membrane. That will straighten that out.
If you want more information about these specialized flashings that will work well regardless of what shape your roof is in or what you have to sort of seal out, you can visit GraceAtHome.com. There’s a great website there with tips on how to keep your house leak-free.
LESLIE: Debbie in Iowa finds The Money Pit on KWKY. What can we do for you today?
DEBBIE: Hi. I had a question about – sometimes when it gets really, really cold out the vents in our bathroom, they drip.
TOM: Oh. OK.
DEBBIE: Like water. But I mean it doesn’t happen all the …
LESLIE: Only when it’s really cold. That sounds like condensation just from the bathroom being so warm and the attic space being cold.
TOM: Yeah. I would check to make sure you have good insulation above the attic.
DEBBIE: We do. We have a fairly new home.
TOM: Well, that doesn’t mean that it’s done correctly. There could be voids where insulation is missing. I cannot tell you how many times in the years I spent as a professional home inspector doing new construction inspections – you know, my average defect list with a brand new house, Leslie, was about 25 items long.
LESLIE: That’s crazy. You never know. There are always new things.
TOM: Yeah. Brand new house. Fully inspected by …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And sometimes with new homes things are worse because they’re just built a little bit off, out of square, you’ve got to make some adjustments.
TOM: Couple of things to check: insulation is one, Debbie; the second thing is to check the ventilation. You need to have good airflow through that space so any humidity that gets up there will be drawn out of the house and not condense. Because when you get moisture up into the attic space, it condenses on the cold roof sheathing and drips down and that may very well be what you’re seeing in the fan space coming through into the bathroom. So insulation and ventilation; those are the two things that will keep that attic dry.
DEBBIE: OK. Can it be moisture coming out of new wood from a new house?
TOM: No. No, no, no. Not that much. Nope. Not that much. It’s moisture being generated in the bathroom. The other thing, by the way, is to check to make sure that bathroom vent fan is vented out.
LESLIE: Yeah, is actually venting outside. Because a lot of times if it’s not paid attention to, sometimes people will vent it directly into the attic which is then depositing all that moisture into the attic space itself and not getting it outside at all.
TOM: Another common new construction defect, I used to turn the bathroom fans on in the bathrooms and then go outside and look for those little damper doors to see if they moved. And I can’t tell you how many times the vent was in on the outside, the fan was on on the inside but nobody connected them. So, you’ve got to really look at what was supposed to be installed here, Debbie, and make sure it was installed and installed correctly and that’s going to be the solution to your problem.
DEBBIE: Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Debbie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up after the break, we’re going to dip into the Money Pit e-mail bag where one of our listeners has a question about how to make their basement look finished with just a touch of color. So stick around.
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. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or log onto MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie. Let’s jump into the e-mail bag.
LESLIE: Here we go. We’ve got one here from Ryan in Cardington (ph), Ohio who writes: ‘I just purchased a new home with a solid poured concrete wall foundation. I’m not looking to finish the basement but I’d like to paint the walls to brighten the whole space up and make the basement look clean. Is there a material that I can use that would also fill in all the little holes in the concrete and paint the walls all at the same time? Your help is greatly appreciated.’ Well, why thank you.
TOM: Well, solid concrete foundation walls are about as good as it gets, Ryan, for a strong base for your home. The walls themselves, however, are not really designed to be a finished surface. You have steel forms that are used when they build the walls and they leave ridges. Now you also get these small voids where air has settled in and that results in sort of like a pockmark or a little bit of a hole …
LESLIE: Yeah, but if you fill those in is that going to stop the wall from breathing and sort of helping to dry out?
TOM: No. No, no, no. Not at all. You can certainly fill them in. Basement wall paints tend to be fairly thick and do have some hole filling qualities. However, no matter what you do, the walls are not going to be silky smooth. If you have any large areas that need repair – you know, areas where you have a lot of divets in the wall or big areas where the steel form marks have really left some big old scars – you might want to look at some of products from Abatron. These are epoxy-based patching compounds that are very effective. And once (ph) you get it smoothed out with the Abatron materials – I think they have one called AboCrete …
TOM: … that works very well – then you can paint on top of that. And I would recommend also the epoxy paints for that as well. That’s going to give you the best, smoothest finish but remember; no matter what you do it’s still not going to be as good, of course, as if you covered it with a drywall type product or a product like Dens Armor plus, which is a fiberglass-faced drywall that won’t grow any mold.
LESLIE: Yeah, but even if you’re down in the basement and you’re thinking about putting up some shelving or some storage units, don’t put them directly against the concrete. Give them some space in front of it because it’s still going to be very hydroscopic and bring in some water from the outside. So, you don’t want anything touching it to help suck it through.
Alright, another question here from Nick in Auburn, Alabama. He says: ‘My daughter’s in a wheelchair and I need to replace a sliding glass door from the house to the patio and deck. I’ve looked around at all the sliding doors and they all have a one-inch area at the bottom. Do you know of any door that’s relatively smooth at the bottom so the wheelchair will roll out without the trauma of rolling over the sill area?’
There is a type of sill that is called a public access sill and it’s an option that many door manufacturers have. And it has only a half-inch of height and it sort of slopes. You can roll over it with a wheelchair. And it’s not available with a sliding patio door but it is available in hinged patio door and it’s made by Therma-Tru doors.
Well, have you been staring at your kitchen saying, ‘Gee, I wish I had some extra cash to completely remodel it?’ Well, stop right there. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You’ve got some tips on how to do that on the cheap.
LESLIE: That’s right. Well, if your kitchen is feeling a bit outdated, why not take the weekend to give it a freshening up by breathing some new life into those cabinets? If you think a flat panel door has got to be boring, well not so. Why not create the look of paneling by adding some molding to that surface? Pick out your style cabinet door at the home center and head over to that lumber section. Experiment with different profiles and patterns to create just the right look. Add that molding using a pneumatic brad nailer or even traditional nails and attach those moldings from the backside. Once you’re satisfied with that trimwork, you can stain it or paint it to match the cabinet.
And while you’re at the home center, check out some new hardware. Even by just adding some new and stylish knobs or pulls to the doors and drawers, you can create a major change in the kitchen with very little money.
TOM: Yep, adding some hardware. It’s like bling for your kitchen, right?
LESLIE: Everybody loves bling.
TOM: A little bit of bling. Well, that’s what we do. We add bling to your home improvement projects every single week. Coming up next week on the program, are you ready to take on some spring gardening and landscaping? Well, you don’t have to have a green thumb to make that project green. We’re going to tell you how to be environmentally aware when you’re getting your outdoor spaces ready for spring and saving some money in the process.
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 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.)