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. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We’ll get you the answer to your how-to dilemma. That’s what we’re here to do; help you get the projects done, make ’em easy, make ’em fun. You know, springtime means you’re making lots of home improvements around your house and maybe you’re not a do-it-yourselfer. Maybe you are what we call a direct-it-yourselfer and if you are, if you’re the kind of person that loves to hire a home improvement contractor to do that job …
LESLIE: And then boss them around.
TOM: … and boss them around (Leslie chuckles). Well, you’ve got to be careful because there are a few home improvement scams going on right now and we’re going to tell you all about it this hour.
LESLIE: And also ahead, are you in the process of selling your house? Well, if you are, even if you’re thinking about it, we’ve got some tips that will help you make the deal go way more smoothly than you could have ever imagined because the time between the offer and the closing is crucial for both the buyer and the seller. We’re going to help you figure out what to expect and how to handle the whole process.
TOM: You know when the most disastrous time of the real estate transaction is?
LESLIE: Oh God, right when you’re signing all those papers and the imaginary money flying around?
TOM: No, after the home inspection. You know in all the years I spent as a home inspector, when the home inspection was done that’s when …
LESLIE: Well, they’re deal breakers at that point.
TOM: Well, that’s when the bubble was burst; ‘Oh my God, it’s not a cream puff after all. There are things wrong with it. How am I going to pay for those and the mortgage?’ That’s a real critical time. We’ll tell you the rest in just a bit.
It’s also a good time of the year to check your HVAC ducts. You know you never think about them unless there’s a problem but surveys show that the leakiest part of your house is the duct system and we’re going to tell you how to make sure it’s nice and tight and energy efficient in just a bit.
LESLIE: And this hour we’re also giving away a huge supply of Scott shop towels, which is great to have on hand if you tend to be a messy do-it-yourselfer like me; especially if there’s paint involved. Tom never spills a darn thing. (Tom laughs) Me? Glue all over the front of my pants. (chuckles)
TOM: Not true.
LESLIE: It also includes grip gloves and dusk masks and this is all from our friends over at Kimberly-Clark. So we’re going to keep your do-it-yourself projects nice and tidy.
TOM: It’s a prize worth more than 200 bucks so pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get started.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Carolyn who’s got a sticky window. What’s going on?
CAROLYN: I do have a sticky window in a 70-year-old tenant’s house that I – I don’t want to break the window. How do I get it open?
TOM: Alright, here’s what you do. First of all, go outside – go out and get yourself a putty knife. You know what that is?
TOM: Alright, and you want to work the putty knife in between the window sash and the window jamb all the way around.
TOM: If it’s a 70-year-old window you can bet that there’s paint that’s making it stick. So even tap it in there lightly with a hammer if you have to and wiggle it back and forth. Work that all the way around, including the space between the upper sash and the lower sash, then gently try to open the window.
Now, if that still doesn’t work I’m going to give you another trick of the trade. Take a block of the …
TOM: Take a block of wood and put it over the lower window on the outside edge where the frame comes together, on the corner …
TOM: … and tap – you’re using the block of the wood to protect the window from the hammer – and then tap the window down as if you’re making it tighter; as if you’re closing it tighter. A couple of quick raps on both corners; that tends to break the paint seal and it’s counter-intuitive because you think, ‘Well, I want to open the window. Don’t I want to tap it up?’ No.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, ‘Why should I close it more?’
TOM: Right, because what happens is you’ll separate the actual frame of the glass; but if you tap it down, a couple of quick raps, it’ll break that paint seal and it should open right up.
CAROLYN: Well, great. I’ll sure try that.
TOM: Alright, give it a shot.
CAROLYN: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Carolyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Spoken from many years experience of freeing up stuck windows, Leslie.
LESLIE: Hey, hope it works.
Neal in New York is about to have the party house. (Tom laughs) You’re building a bar, huh?
NEAL: Yeah, it’s about time. Twenty-one years in the house (Tom chuckles) and I finally have my dream bar. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: You’re finally old enough to drink, huh Neal?
NEAL: I’m old enough to drink a long time. A long time. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: How can we help you?
NEAL: My wife and I have been having, you know, conversations on how do I finish the top of the bar. She’s concerned, you know. My wife’s very neat and she likes everything nice and she doesn’t want me to scratch it or, you know.
TOM: What did you make the bar out of, Neal?
NEAL: It’s plywood.
NEAL: It’s plywood. I did all of the wood. The entire basin and the shelves and everything is finished. I’m about to finish the top and what I did was I went and I bought a three-quarter, you know, 4×8 plywood sheet. It’s a red veneer oak.
TOM: Oh, nice. Mm-hmm.
NEAL: Yeah, so I’m just about – I was going to cut it tomorrow night when I got home from work and I was going to just give it, you know, five coats of the Minwax polyurethane; sanding in between coats. I figured four or five coats because when I did – I used birch on the bottom of the bar and I stained it red mahogany and then did three coats of the polyurethane, the clear polyurethane, with sanding in between and it’s like glass.
TOM: Yeah. Let me give you one more suggestion for the top.
NEAL: Yes, sir.
TOM: Use a sanding sealer first.
NEAL: A sanding sealer? Yeah, my nephew uses that, right.
TOM: Yeah, put a sanding sealer on it and then sand it for the first time because what happens, if you put a sanding sealer on it it seals in the grain and it kind of raises it a little bit and it gets a little rough.
TOM: And then you sand it down and this way, when you put the coat of polyurethane on it after that …
LESLIE: It really grabs it.
TOM: Well, not only does it grab it but it doesn’t bring those little fibers of the wood up, so you don’t have to sand nearly as much.
NEAL: Fantabulous. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit and the big Memorial Day holiday weekend is just around the corner, so let us help you get your house in tiptop shape for that big barbecue. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, beware of home improvement con artists. We’ll tell you what to watch out for, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer and add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information visit ThermaTru.com.
TOM: Well, if you decide to tackle a plumbing project and now need to know exactly where the main water valve is, well we can help.
LESLIE: Are we too late or are you knee-deep in water?
TOM: Call quick. (Leslie chuckles) 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a Kimberly-Clark prize pack worth more than 200 bucks that can help you clean up that mess. It’s a case of Scotts Rags Extreme and Scotts shop towels. These are ideal for painting and wiping up stains and water spills from the plumbing projects that went awry.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Very awry.
TOM: Plus you’ll get disposable, professional grip gloves and a case of dust masks; everything you need to clean up from your home improvement projects at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, well it’s springtime and so you’re probably knee-deep or head-over-heels, however you want to think about it, in home improvement projects inside and out. But if you find you’re the type of person who is a little timid to attack a certain project just because of the skill set or you just want to hire a pro for the job, that’s perfectly fine. Tom and I like to call you guys direct-it-yourselfers and sometimes I’m even in that category. Nothing to be ashamed of there. It’s a very noble thing to be. But when you’re doing so you need to be really careful because home improvement scams, they become very common this time of year as home improvement projects start to get very busy and stacked up for these contractors. Because what’s happening is the homeowners fail to check and then double-check the contractors that you guys are out there looking to hire to work in your home and if you want to avoid hiring dishonest workers here are some of the red flags that you need to look out for.
If you’ve got a hard time reaching this contractor and you’ve had to leave several messages just to get a return call, stay away. You also want to watch out for upselling. If you asked your contractor to come to your house about water damage, don’t let him talk you into a deck or something that completely wasn’t even on your agenda. That’s another red flag.
TOM: Good advice. And if a contractor tells you his price is good for today only, keep looking. Uninvited contractors that work in neighborhoods offering to sort of seal driveways or power wash roofs may not have your best interests in mind. Panic pedaling is a common home improvement scam, too; you know, where they come and they say, ‘I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The bad news is your house is a disaster and needs immediate structural repair.’
LESLIE: ‘But I’m the guy.’
TOM: That’s right, that’s the good news. ‘Aren’t you fortunate today, Mr. or Miss Homeowner?’
LESLIE: I always feel like, oh, you happen to be driving by my house and noticed this thing? It’s like a little too fishy. It’s like don’t have someone solicit you for their work. It’s like forget it.
TOM: Use your common sense.
888-666-3974. Call us right now if you’ve got a project you’re thinking about tackling. Maybe we can tell you how to do it yourself and you won’t need the pro.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to David in Oklahoma about water heating. What can we do for you today?
DAVID: Well, I’ve heard y’all talk about the tankless water heaters. Do they make a gas tankless water heater or is it only electric?
TOM: No, it’s actually the opposite of that. They do make electric tankless but we never recommend them because they’re not efficient. The gas water heaters, on the other hand, are super, super efficient; either propane or natural gas. That’s where you get your tankless water heating efficiency is with the gas units; not with the electric units.
TOM: So if you’re thinking about replacing your water heater and you’ve got gas, you have everything you need.
DAVID: Well, we do have one that is gas and then we have one house that’s all electric, so …
TOM: Well, with the electric house what I would do is I would replace – and again, if it’s time for a new water heater there I would replace it with a high-efficiency electric water heater. They have a sort of a heavier outer shell that’s very well insulated. Then you can increase your energy efficiency even further by adding a timer to that; a 240-volt timer so that you’re only running the water heater when you absolutely have to, which is a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. The in-between time you generally can leave the water heater off and because it’s well-insulated the water will still stay hot.
DAVID: OK. Well listen, thank you very much. I’m really glad to hear about the gas being the most efficient.
TOM: You’re very welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
DAVID: Cleaning is on the agenda for Eugene in Michigan. How can we help you with that project?
EUGENE: I have a furnace that has been sitting for a while and duct work and the duct work is kind of dirty inside. I would like to know is there a way I can clean it myself.
TOM: Well, duct cleaning requires some specialized tools to get deep inside the duct work and clean it. A better option for you may be to skip the ductwork cleaning and when you’re ready, have an electronic air cleaner installed into the HVAC system. This is going to give you a very, very efficient filtering system that will stop the ducts from getting dirtier and it will also collect any dust that’s in there now that’s blowing around. You’ll find that if you put a good-quality electronic air cleaner in there you’re going to breathe a lot easier in the house.
TOM: What kind of filter do you have right now, Eugene?
EUGENE: It’s a medium.
TOM: One of those fiberglass filters?
TOM: We call those pebble stops because that’s about all that they’ll stop.
TOM: You need a much more efficient filter system if you want to get rid of that dust.
TOM: Let me recommend a website; Aprilaire.com. There’s a unit there that – I think it’s called the Model 5000 Electronic Air Cleaner – and that’s the one I put in my house and it made a big difference for us.
EUGENE: Alright, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Eugene. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Louise wants to talk flooring. How can we help you?
LOUISE: I have an old carpet and I would like to just dye it …
LOUISE: … and I’ve heard about that. This is a tan carpet. It’s got some stains that cleaning won’t get out. I would like to dye it a dark brown or a dark blue. Is that pretty cheap? Is it easy to do? How do I do that?
LESLIE: Alright, Louise. I mean I’ve heard it done and it can be done. It’s certainly not going to be inexpensive because the dyes themselves are expensive and not every kind of carpet can be done. Synthetics certainly need to be tested in inconspicuous areas or scraps to make sure that it will even adhere the dye.
LOUISE: You read my mind about cleaning it later, yes.
TOM: Yeah, mm-hmm. Absolutely.
LESLIE: And you know, wools or wool blends; those will accept the dye really well. You have to make sure that the material itself that your carpet is made from will be willing to take the dye because some it just – you know, some are so stain-resistant it’ll just bead right off.
TOM: And Louise, imagine how much work is involved when you go to paint a room; how you have to cover everything that you do not want paint to get on. Well, it’s much the same preparation when you have pros come in and dye your carpet because that stuff is called dye for a reason …
LOUISE: That’s right.
TOM: … and if it gets on the places you don’t want it, it makes a big, stinking mess. There’s a lot of specialized equipment involved and it’s a big project. So …
LOUISE: I guess it’s just not worth it, probably.
TOM: Well, I think you need to compare it …
LESLIE: I mean it could be.
TOM: … against the cost of a new carpet.
LOUISE: Right, and that’s the thing. OK.
TOM: Let me give you a website where you can go to get some more information. It’s Americolor.com; A-m-e-r-i-color.com. They sell all of the gear there and they have some homeowner products, too, that you could take a look at and learn a little bit more about this process.
LOUISE: OK, well I thank you kindly. Have a good day.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: If you’re tackling a tiling project you’d be like Paul in Texas. How can we help you with your money pit?
PAUL: Well, we had our master bath remodeled recently.
PAUL: And the contractor did such a lousy job on the tile that we ended up firing him …
TOM: Oh, boy.
PAUL: … and then we had to get another contractor to come in to finish the job and there were several gaps and those sorts of things and they sealed everything. And we started using the shower and some of the grout started coming out; like little gravely, very small, sandy kind of pieces of grout would come out.
PAUL: So I started sealing it with DAP and I have a friend who told me you shouldn’t do that; you should tear all the grout and start over and I’m wondering what the best approach is to solve this problem.
TOM: Well, if you’ve got tiny, little pieces that are falling out and it just happens once and it doesn’t seem to be a perennial problem, then using a bit of caulk to seal it up is probably not terrible. But if you’ve got grout, for whatever reason, that was not put in correctly, then in that case you may need to use a grout saw and sand out the entire joint and then regrout the whole thing to get the proper adhesion.
PAUL: Alright, we’ll try that. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Decking turned out to be the hot ticket on the 2007 cost versus value report. I think up 114 percent return on investment in the New York area.
TOM: Can you believe that? (chuckles)
LESLIE: How crazy? Karen in New Jersey wants to talk decks. How can we help you?
KAREN: I have heard that BluWood is a green product and environment-friendly but I didn’t know if it was cost effective and what’s its composition.
TOM: Karen, BluWood is fairly new on the market. It’s been getting a bit of buzz. It was featured on an edition, not too long ago, of Extreme Home Makeover. It’s basically a product that is supposed to be environmentally friendly; it’s …
LESLIE: Well, it’s like a treatment process, correct?
TOM: It’s a treatment process and it has some of the green certifications. In terms of how long it lasts, the warranty is – what? – 30 years, Leslie?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, 30 years they’re saying.
TOM: But we don’t know, of course, if it’s going to be around 30 years because it’s a brand new product. Whether it’s cost effective or not is going to depend on that, but it does seem to be a pretty popular alternative now. It seems to have a growing audience. So it’s something you may want to consider and certainly price against the more traditional treated products.
LESLIE: And it’s a process than can be done to a variety of different types of building materials from oriented strand board (ph) to pine to all different kinds of things used for rafters and joists and sheathing and then for decking and for steps and for railings. So it’s a coating that’s applied to a variety of types of lumber.
KAREN: Yeah, I had heard that it’s not friendly to insects.
TOM: Yeah, it’s designed to protect against mold, rot, as well as insects. So I think that you’re going to start seeing more and more technologies that are like this as we get increasingly concerned about the impact of, especially, mold on our homes.
KAREN: OK. Alright, well I thank you very much.
TOM: Up next, checking your air ducts for proper air flow; it’s an important first step to saving energy in your house. We’ll tell you how to get those ducts in a row, next.
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home’s exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And Leslie, may I be the first to congratulate you on National Home Remodeling Month.
LESLIE: Did you get my card?
TOM: Oh, that was from you.
LESLIE: Yes, you didn’t recognize it by the sawdust that I used instead of confetti?
TOM: That should have been my first clue; when all the sawdust fell out. (Leslie chuckles)
Well you know, home remodeling month is enough of a reason to take a close look at the first impression people have of your home; especially your front door. You know replacing your front door can add value that’s about five times the cost of the project itself, which makes it a really super-good investment; and it’s a project that’s not drastic or major in scale, with huge results.
LESLIE: Ah, but maybe you’re thinking, ‘Aw, I’m short on cash this spring but I really could use a new door. Aargh! Tax season really took away a lot of my extra money’ or maybe you’ve got a big refund coming to you in the mail pretty soon. They usually arrive around this time.
LESLIE: Well, you are in luck if you are looking for a freebie door because Therma-Tru is offering to help you out by launching their fourth annual search for the ugliest door in America. Two grand prize winners they’re selecting are going to receive a Therma-Tru entry door makeover with a retail value of up to $5,000 each.
LESLIE: That’s pretty kick-butt. If you want to enter you need to go to MoneyPit.com and click on My Ugly Door.
TOM: Yeah, and there are two ways to enter. You can actually write a short essay about why you have the ugliest door in America or you can shoot a video, 60-second video; upload it by going to MoneyPit.com and clicking on My Ugly Door and you could be one of the two winners of the front door makeovers worth up to 5,000 bucks. Pretty cool. And you know what’s neat? If you go to MoneyPit.com and you click on the button you can see last year’s winner so that maybe you won’t feel as bad (Leslie chuckles) because there could be uglier doors in America than yours.
LESLIE: You know what? This is one time when an ugly something is going to be beneficial to you, so don’t be upset if your door is ugly.
TOM: Could be worth 5K.
888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Heading to the great north to talk to Gary in Alaska about some rotting wood. Tell us about the problem at your house.
GARY: Well, what it is is a little, single-story partition on the house where best I could guess is 2×10 or 2×12 set into the cement pad and it sticks out four or five inches into the soil and it’s slowly sinking because it’s rotting.
GARY: And it’s level with the pad and I can’t figure out why it was built that way or how to stop it.
TOM: So your sense, Gary, is that the wood was actually built on top of the soil?
GARY: Partially, yes; but like oversize.
TOM: What you’re going to have to do here is a couple of things. First of all, you have to cure the soil-to-wood contact and depending on how you’re grading is around the house you need to try to get that lower so that you don’t have that contact anymore. The second thing that you really need to do is to open this up.
The easiest way to do this might be from the outside. Even though it sounds fairly destructive it’s generally easier to take siding off than it is to take flooring out. And in doing so you can examine the condition of the floor joist. If it turns out that the ends of those joists are severely rotted, what you can do is sister those joists and that refers to the practice where you put a new beam next to the old beam, attach them together and then the new beam carries the weight of the old beam. It has to go back deep into the house well over that cantilevered wall by at least two-thirds of the distance that it overhangs the wall.
LESLIE: To structurally take that weight.
TOM: Exactly, and that would be the correct way …
GARY: I can dig the soil away pretty easy; that part.
TOM: That would be the hot ticket. If it turns out that it’s deeper there than the rest of the yard, then you want to sort of install like a retained area there. It’ll look almost like there’s a trench against the house but it’s OK as long as once the soil starts it runs away.
GARY: I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and now we’ve got a great tip for you; especially since you’re getting ready to crank up those air conditionings across the country. So this is for all of you HVAC folks out there.
Good air flow; it is the number one key to the efficiency of any forced-air heating and cooling system. You want to check yours out. So to do it, you need to make sure you turn the fan to the on position and then go ahead and check the airflow at every, single supply and return duct with a tissue. If you find that there are any blocked (audio gap) contact your heating and cooling contractor to track down the cost. When we say with a tissue, if it’s on a supply duct it wants to blow away from it. If it’s on a return duct it wants to go (sucking sound) and get stuck up there. That’s really going to tell you that things are working because these ducts, they can get disconnected or accidentally turned off. That’s going to be the quickest clue to tell you how things are flowing, so to speak, around your house.
TOM: Ah, but you’re saying, ‘My heating and cooling system works just fine.’ I’ve got to tell you, in the 20 years I spent as a home inspector I found disconnected ducts all the time.
TOM: I found ducts that were disconnected in homes that were 30 years old; had never, ever been hooked up.
LESLIE: Even been connected from the beginning?
TOM: Completely. Totally disconnected, hanging out in mid air; hanging down in a crawlspace; up in an attic; up in a closet; places they never should have been.
LESLIE: How crazy.
TOM: Just completely disconnected. So it’s real important and that’s exactly how I found it, you know. It wasn’t any super-snooping on my part. I used the tissue system. Run all the ducts, put the fan on, check all the ducts and if you don’t feel airflow you’ve got a problem; you’ve got to chase it down.
Hey, speaking of real estate transactions, closing the deal can be the most important part of the home-selling process. So up next we’re going to give you some tips on how to do it right.
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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better with your help. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because it will give you a great chance to win a prize and this hour we’re giving away a giant, humongo supply of products from Kimberly-Clark and all of these products are going to help keep your DIY projects clean and safe. You’re going to get a case of Scott Rags Extreme and Scott shop towels along with disposable gloves and a case of dust masks. This is going to save all of your work pants because if you’re like me, any time I get anything on my hands it’s hands to pants.
TOM: It’s like a mess kit. You can make a big mess (Leslie chuckles) and you’ve got everything in the kit to clean it up.
LESLIE: All you’ve got to do is be on the air, ask your question. You’re going to get an answer so you’re going to be a winner anyway. Pick up the phone at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
TOM: Well, it’s been a difficult economy but I’d like to say that it seems that the home selling season is actually starting to heat up a little bit …
LESLIE: I hope you’re right.
TOM: … and if you’re in the process of selling your home you need to know that making the deal is obviously the most important step in the process. The folks at Century 21 say that a professional realtor can help guide you through the details and I agree. It’s not a do-it-yourself job. You know, the agents help you negotiate a price; they negotiate the terms, the conditions; and if you have the offer you think, ‘Oh, it’s all done.’ No, that’s the beginning of the project. Making sure the deal closes involves a lot of hurdles that have to be crossed along the way and an agent is the best way to make sure that gets done right.
LESLIE: Yeah, and in this market it’s really also important to make sure that your house is in the absolute tiptop shape it can be. I mean there are so many homes on the market so if you can present a product that’s in good shape, ready to move into, doesn’t require a lot of, you know, large scale or even small scale maintenance projects just to get it livable, you are going to be in a better place to go. And a good way, really, to wrap your head around what needs to get done is to hire a home inspector and have the home inspection done yourself before you put the house on the market. Even though you think, ‘Well, inspections; they’re usually done by the buyers,’ doing one as a seller means that you’re going to find out first what repairs might even need to be done and then you can get them done before a buyer is even involved so that they’re not finding these things well into the deal, affecting your selling price. You’re going to run into a whole host of problems if all of these repairs, big or small, tend to pop up, you know, unknowingly to you.
If you want some more tips go to a great website; it’s Century21.com. They’ve got a lot of info there to help you sell your house.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Valerie in North Carolina has got a kitchen project. What’s going on and how can we help?
VALERIE: Yes, I replaced the kitchen cabinets in my kitchen and it’s been over 10 years ago and I had a freezer in the kitchen but I’ve gotten rid of that since then and now I’m trying to fill that space in with a cabinet that will look OK and I’m having a hard time matching what I have here.
LESLIE: Well, have you thought about not exactly matching and choosing something that’s in the same finish but complements it; say, with like a glass-front door or something a little bit different that makes it its own special piece?
VALERIE: Well, I thought about that. The person that I talked to about the glass-front said the inside would still have to match and because the color has changed I’ve had a hard time doing that also.
LESLIE: What color are your existing cabinets?
VALERIE: It’s an oak – just like a golden oak color.
LESLIE: Is it something where if you got an unfinished cabinet you’d be able to purchase a stain and stain it on your own to match?
VALERIE: I guess that’s a possibility. I hadn’t really thought that way.
TOM: That’s probably the best way to go because this way you’d have control of it. If you got the unfinished oak cabinet what I would also do is go out and buy a couple of pieces of oak scrap and then you could experiment with some different stains; get one that’s maybe a little lighter than what you have, one that’s a little darker and come up with one that matches as close to that cabinet as you possibly can get it. If you use an unfinished cabinet then you have total control over the coloration and I think that’s probably the best way to get something that’s really close to what you have. And then even if you put it in and it still looks a little bit different, as the sunlight gets to it over the years you’ll find that it gets warmer and warmer and eventually it’s probably going to match perfectly with what you have.
VALERIE: OK, well that’s a good – I hadn’t thought of doing that myself.
TOM: Yeah, in this situation I think that makes the most sense.
VALERIE: Can I ask another question that’s related to that? I’ve got – since that freezer left I had laminate floors put in …
VALERIE: … and somebody told me that I was going to have trouble putting something down on top of a laminate if I put a cabinet there.
TOM: Why would you have trouble putting it on top of laminate?
VALERIE: They said something about it kind of floats; the floor should float.
TOM: This cabinet is going to go on top of the existing laminate floor?
VALERIE: That’s right.
TOM: I don’t see any reason you can’t do that except you’re going to find that that laminate floor went up to – like against the original cabinets; that you may find that a new cabinet is taller when you put it side by side.
TOM: And if that’s the situation you have two options. You can either cut out the laminate and sort of drop the new one in …
LESLIE: So that it’s at the same height of the others.
TOM: … or you could cut the new base cabinet. We are your problem solvers, Valerie, so thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
VALERIE: (chuckling) Well, thank you.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We’ve still got a lot great, more home improvement advice coming up including painting tips. If you find that the previous homeowners of your house were colorblind and painted the walls bright, garish, ridiculous neon colors, well then you’re already finding that painting over them can be an absolutely nightmare. We’re going to tell you how to prep those walls and get the job done, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And right now at MoneyPit.AOL.com I’ve got a brand new column featuring green products for your kitchen and your bath; all that we learned about at the kitchen and bath show last month in Chicago; a really cool industry show where they roll out the latest, the greatest, the coolest, best-looking products for your kitchen and your bath. Green was a big topic. I’ve got the lowdown right now at MoneyPit.AOL.com.
LESLIE: And while you’re searching the web go to MoneyPit.com and if you feel like asking us a question but not talking on the phone you can go ahead and click on Ask Tom and Leslie and e-mail us your question. We get a bunch of them every week and this is the point in the show where we answer them and we’ve got one here from Theoni in Bluffdale, Utah who writes: ‘I want to repaint an interior room. The existing color is a vibrant purple and pink.’ Hey, were you on a home makeover show? (chuckles)
TOM: Seemed like a good idea at the time. (laughing)
LESLIE: ‘I was going to use KILZ and then paint over that. Is there a better way to seal under the new color and what is the best product to use to seal/prime the walls?’
TOM: Ah, you know what? The key tip here for Theoni is to use a tinted primer. Whenever you’ve got a real vibrant color you’re trying to cover up you want to make sure you use a primer that’s the same color as the topcoat. That really is the hot ticket.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and that also is very helpful if you’re going with a very heavily saturated topcoat color like a red or a deep blue because it’ll really help you get a few steps further along it the priming process.
TOM: Nash from Washington, DC says: ‘I have an AC condenser on the roof of my townhouse and I want to demolish it to prepare for a new system. Can I simply disconnect the existing refrigerant lines and let the refrigerant dissipate into the air?’ Oh God no! (laughing)
LESLIE: Umm, unless you want to be completely fined by the environmental council daily; I doubt that.
TOM: Talking about being very, very ungreen. That would be a very bad idea. No, what you need to do is contact an HVAC professional. They will come and they will drain the refrigerant out of the old system and then, only then, can it be disconnected and then disposed of. You absolutely, positively cannot let that out into the air because it’s very bad for the environment; not to mention you if you happen to get a whiff of it.
LESLIE: Yeah! Nash, keep the EPA away from your door.
Alright, we’ve got one more here from Debra in Freehold, New Jersey who writes: ‘I have a dog who I cannot keep from jumping and scratching the inside of my front and back doors. They have been refinished twice and she continues to damage them.’ (Tom chuckles) ‘I would like to either refinish them again or replace them but cannot think of a practical, clever or even decorative way to protect my doors.
TOM: I guess getting rid of the dog is out of the question here, Debra.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Is out of the question. That’s so mean.
TOM: You know, wood doors – I suspect that these are wood doors and they’re …
LESLIE: They would have to be.
TOM: … they’re really quite soft and nothing you’re going to put on top of them is going to make a difference. I would suggest that this might be a good opportunity to change out to a fiberglass door. Fiberglass doors are a lot tougher and they can take the wear and tear and they can take the scratching.
LESLIE: And they can look exactly like wood.
TOM: Yeah, they can; that’s right. Therma-Tru has got some doors that have a graining technology called AccuGrain where it looks exactly like wood. And hey, speaking of Therma-Tru, if your door is looking really, really bad they’ve got a contest going on right now …
LESLIE: Don’t refinish them yet.
TOM: Yeah, it’s called the Ugliest Door in America contest. So take a photo and send it to them and they may actually volunteer to replace it for you if it’s really that bad. The details are all at MoneyPit.com. They’re actually offering a $5,000 front door makeover if they choose yours as the ugliest door in America. So that’s all at MoneyPit.com.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com where you can download our podcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
TOM: 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 2008 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.)