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. Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. If your floor is squeaking, if your toilet’s leaking we can help you fix it. Now, if your floor is leaking and your toilet’s squeaking, well that’s a …
LESLIE: You’ve got a whole different set of problems. (chuckling)
TOM: That’s a whole different set of problems and we can’t help you at all. But (chuckling) if you’ve got a crack in the wall, if you’re dealing with a nail pop, if you’re trying to get your deck ready for a summer of sizzling fun, want to get the steaks out there on the deck, have it look really snappy call us now.
LESLIE: You want to be the envy of all your coworkers and neighbors, we can help.
TOM: Make them jealous. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got a great show planned for you today.
LESLIE: That’s true. No doubt, folks, you are dealing with spring cleaning inside and outside of your house. But has that spring cleaning brought you to the garage? Well, if you’re like me, you want to pitch everything and when you’re working with a garage you cannot just throw a lot of those things in the garbage. We’re going to tell you how to safely get rid of those hazardous materials that have been collecting in that space called the garage.
TOM: And if you’re in the market for a new roof, you might want to consider installing the last roof you’ll ever need. It’s called a metal roof and they’re a far cry from the corrugated tin that you might be imagining. Right now they are extremely energy efficient. We’re going to tell you why a metal roof might be a great choice for you.
LESLIE: And also, our green scene reporter is on the case for us again; this time joining us with tips on green building. You know, are you considering a renovation or a remodel? Well, it’s your responsibility to think about using green materials for your job. We’re going to help you decide what’s right for your project.
TOM: And here at The Money Pit, we like to get our callers the old fashioned way. We like to bribe you!
LESLIE: (chuckling) And it’s a good bribe this hour, folks.
TOM: It’s a great bribe. It’s a Husky air compressor worth 199 bucks. To win it, you’ve got to call us at 888-MONEY-PIT and be willing to come on the air with us and ask your home improvement question. The number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Amy in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
AMY: Yes, I wanted to find out – we – my husband and I have one of the ugly – the one-piece shower inserts in our bathroom.
AMY: And I wanted to find out could we do something more creative if we took that out; using the studs of the wall to try to make something unique, you know, so we can add like a little seat in there and make it like tile and do it ourselves?
TOM: Oh, absolutely. I mean it’s a big job. If you take that out the next thing you’re going to want to do is put in a shower pan. And you would probably still use a fiberglass shower pan for that; although you could, you know, construct one out of wood, line it fiberglass and cover it with tile.
LESLIE: But you can easily blend tile with the fiberglass shower pan. It’s still going to look nice.
TOM: Absolutely. But certainly you could build your own shower stall. You would do that simply by covering the studs with an underlayment material that’s designed to have tile installed on top of that.
LESLIE: Like a cement backer board?
TOM: Yeah, like a cement backer board, for example. Or you can do it the old-fashioned way where they actually did concrete on the walls. They called it mud walls. But certainly you could do that and then adhere the tile right to the walls.
AMY: And that’s something your average homeowner could do?
TOM: No. (laughing) I don’t think so.
LESLIE: I think so.
TOM: That’s a big job.
TOM: You know, if you’re real handy with tile and you don’t mind doing the demolition, sure you could do it. But let’s look at the steps. First of all, you have to disassemble the plumbing and get the old system out. You’ve got to disassemble the walls; get it all roughed out and ready to take the new shower pan. Put the new shower pan in. You’ve got to run the plumbing up the wall so it comes out where you need it. Then you have to put the cement backer board on everything. Then you have to tile it all. So I mean there’s a lot of steps involved. Now, if you’re a pretty good do-it-yourselfer you could do it yourself. But there’s a lot of jobs.
LESLIE: Or you can have a pro get it to the point where it’s ready for tile and if that helps you with costs at all, tiling is a fun project that’s manageable by the average homeowner. And if you want to feel like you’re doing something, go for it.
AMY: Great. So if it’s – the tile’s not perfect, that’s OK; it’s my fault, then.
TOM: That’s right. You can only blame yourself. (chuckling)
LESLIE: You’ll do a great job.
TOM: Amy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Listening in from New Jersey on WABC we’ve got Vincent. What’s going on at your house?
VINCENT: Yeah, I’m having a problem with a water heater that’s keeping on – going on and off very frequently.
TOM: Vincent, how old is your water heater?
VINCENT: Three years old.
TOM: Three? That’s pretty young.
VINCENT: Two, actually, not three. Two years old.
TOM: Yeah, that is pretty young.
VINCENT: Yeah, very young. Obviously, if it’s very windy outside, somehow some gust wind comes in and it throws off the [pilot light] (ph). Which is understandable. I – you know, I understand that. But when you light it up and the water heats up and the water – if the water got too cold already, now when you light it up the concentration of the tank itself – you know, the water drops into the flame and that puts the fire out.
TOM: (chuckling) Oh, OK.
VINCENT: OK. So this – and I have to maybe light it up about two or three times before it reaches …
VINCENT: … the potential of the – you know, that it’s hot enough not to sweat or not to, you know.
TOM: Right. Well, Vincent, it usually comes down to a problem with the pilot light. If the flame is stronger the condensation is not going to – is not going to be able to drop down and put it out. It can usually take a few drips. That kind of drip-drip onto the burner is not unusual. I’ve seen that happen before. I think there’s a problem with the pilot light. I think that it’s partially blocked or partially clogged. Or there could be an issue with the thermal couple. If the thermal couple is not close enough to the pilot light or if the thermal couple is bad, then what can happen is that can also cause the water heater pilot light to go out. And you’ll find that you’ll have to relight it a lot. But it’s going to come down to that part of the control circuit and that shouldn’t be that expensive to fix.
You know, another thing that you could think about putting in, Vincent, is a tankless water heater. That’s going to be a highly efficient way to supply hot water to your house.
Vincent, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ron in Iowa has a question about wood flooring. What can we do for you?
RON: OK. What I have is a wood laminate floor …
RON: … in my basement. And I walk across it with my boots on or my socks on and I go to turn a light switch on or touch anything metal I get a heck of a static charge from it.
TOM: Wow. Really?
RON: A big zap.
RON: And I’m an electrician so I’m used to getting a big zap. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
TOM: I thought that – well, I thought that static electricity built up more in carpet than it did in hard surfaces.
RON: Yeah, this is worse on the wood floor …
RON: … than it is on the carpets.
TOM: Well, you need to ground yourself, man.
RON: That’s what I’m doing when I hit the switch. (Tom laughs)
LESLIE: Well, and I would think when you have shoes on this wouldn’t happen.
TOM: Yeah, I would think that your rubber soles on your boots would stop that from happening.
RON: I would think. And I mean it’s – the boots I have are kind of a like a Red Wing type of boot.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a good boot.
RON: And – yeah, good boot. And boy oh boy.
TOM: You sure it’s not just the electricity you collected through the day as you worked as an electrician? (Leslie chuckles)
RON: You know, it happens weekly that I get a jolt. But wow, I mean this is – this is – I mean it’s a good static charge. And it’s …
TOM: Now is it only when you hit the light switch or can you hit anything metal?
RON: No, you hit anything metal; the sink, anything. And whoo-hoo!
RON: A jolt. And I’m not sure. You know, and I’m an electrician and I’m not sure how to stop the …
TOM: You know what would be interesting. I wonder what would happen, Ron, if you ground your floor to your ground rod where your panel is.
RON: That’s what I was thinking, too. Really was.
TOM: You know, put a strap on it and see if that changes anything. I can’t imagine …
LESLIE: And where is this room in your house?
TOM: The basement. Yeah.
RON: It’s in the basement.
LESLIE: The basement. What …?
RON: And it’s actually in the middle of the basement between two carpeted floors. So …
LESLIE: Now, what is the moisture level in the basement?
RON: I’m thinking it must be pretty low.
LESLIE: Because I’ve learned through, you know, doing some search on static shocks. Because when I was a kid I always tried to make getting shocks, you know, better so I could get my brothers and sisters. So actually, if you have a drier space, if you find that it’s not as humid as you’d like it to be – which is, you know, around 40 percent humidity – it tends to cause a lot more shocking.
TOM: You know, that’s a good point. You might want to try adding some humidification, if you happen to be in a particularly dry basement. But I mean in Iowa, usually that’s not the problem. Normally you have damp basements.
RON: (overlapping voices) No, usually it’s the other way around.
RON: Evidently it must be fairly dry. I haven’t really ever tested it, so …
TOM: Hmm. Well, we gave you a couple of ideas; grounding your floor or adding humidification to the basement.
LESLIE: Adding humidity. Put some moisturizer on your hands. Because dryness really does help to conduct the shocking. So use some hand lotion.
RON: I’ll try it all.
LESLIE: Good luck. And heck, you know, grab the kids and like shock each other.
TOM: Figure how to tap that electricity and save some money on your bills.
RON: If it was only that easy.
TOM: Ron, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Well, it’s the weekend and we love to talk home improvement. So call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can’t stop talking about home improvement. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. You know, before you can start a home improvement project you might have to do some cleaning so that you have room to get that job done. If you want to save on some spring cleaning chores in your house, we’re going to give you some tips on how to do just that, after this.
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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, if you call us right now, folks, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we talk to you on the air today and you ask a home improvement question – I know we’re asking a lot, but we’re giving away a great prize if you do those things. It’s the Husky air compressor. It’s worth $199 and it’s from the Quiet series line. So you can actually run your compressor and do your work and still hear yourself think without that continual like, ‘Aaaa’ as it kicks on. You can use it for finish nailers and staplers, air brushes, caulk guns, grease guns and, of course – perfect for this time of year – all of those inflatable needs that you are no doubt going to be coming across very shortly. The number to win that prize, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: And we know all about our air compressors because we are full of air, that’s for sure. (Leslie chuckles)
Well you know, sometimes making a little more space for air is a good thing. Like for example, in your garage. Has your spring cleaning frenzy brought you to that space yet? Well, in one sweep you can dispose of all paint thinners, motor oils, kerosene and dangerous cleaning solutions at your local recycling center. You want to empty spray paint and solvent cans by turning them upside down and holding the button down until nothing comes out. Also, leave cans of paint open until the excess paint dries and be sure to check your local hazardous waste pickup schedules for proper disposal. There are some easy ways to clean out that garage, make some room and then you can stick all your tools in there again.
1-888-MONEY-PIT if you’ve got a question about your home improvement project.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Beth in Georgia’s up next and she finds The Money Pit on the Discovery Radio network. And you’ve got a floor issue. What’s happening?
BETH: Well, my husband and I just moved into a new house and we have linoleum floors in the kitchen. And we noticed a tear in a pretty high traffic area and we’d like to figure out how to repair it that it’ll hold until we can decide what kind of new floors we want to get.
TOM: Yeah, you know, fixing tears in linoleum is tough. There are glues that are available at flooring stores for this but usually what happens is a little piece of the linoleum sticks up higher than the piece next to it and then you catch it with your feet or with furniture and things like that. And if you cut it out, even if you have a perfect repair – and I’ve seen professional linoleum repairs where they’re absolutely letter perfect – but still you end up having that seam that collects dirt in the seam. So I guess the question here is, Beth, is how long do you – are you fixing to get by with this linoleum being torn.
BETH: I’d say at least six months. I don’t see us changing the floors in, you know, in a new house in the first six months.
TOM: Is a throw rug an option?
BETH: Could be. Yeah. I mean, you know, we could – we could put a throw rug. We do have a dog who’s pretty active and likes to slide around the floor.
BETH: That’s kind of an issue.
LESLIE: So he could easily cut his paw.
BETH: So is there some – are there some glues that could hold it down so that if we wanted to put a throw rug over it or something that could hold that piece down?
TOM: Yeah, Beth. It’s called repair adhesive and it’s available at most hardware stores. The secret to making this work though is to first of all clean the surface as best you can, work the adhesive under the entire space and then weight it for about 24 hours as it’s drying so it really holds that seam as flat as absolutely possible. And then once it’s dry, you know, if you want to add a throw rug over it just to keep the direct traffic off of it, with all of those things that you’re doing you should be able to buy yourself that six months you need to get to putting that new floor down. OK?
LESLIE: And then get one of those anti-skid mats so that your dog doesn’t come flying in and skid across that rug.
BETH: Exactly. Well, thank you guys so much. I appreciate it. Love the show.
TOM: You’re welcome, Beth. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Melissa in West Virginia wants to install a fish pond in your backyard. How’s it going so far?
MELISSA: Haven’t started yet.
LESLIE: That’s good.
MELISSA: I’m not so sure which route to go. I’ve seen the ponds that are like a coy pond that’s been concrete. And then versus the one that has a liner in it. I’m not sure which is going to be least expensive and less maintenance.
LESLIE: Hmm. Well, that’s an interesting question. With any sort of water feature or a fish pond that you might install in your yard, there’s a couple of things you need to think about. Think about how large do you want it, how deep, is there a specific size, what type of water feature do you want it to be. Because some of those precast forms might not come in the exact size that you’re wanting. And there’s an easy way to do it; whether it’s with a precast form or whether you’re doing something out of just a pond liner. And the pond liner can be a little bit pricey but it’s very durable and it does stand up well and they come in sizes depending on how large you want your fish pond to be. So make sure you really plan out how big, how deep so you know exactly what size fish pond liner to get.
And what you want to do is you want to make sure that you lay out very well – either with some spray paint or some bright colored string – the size and shape of your fish pond in your backyard. Get a good layout for it and make sure it’s got either the right amount of sunlight or shade, depending on what type of fish and what type of plants you want to put in there.
Once you lay it all out and you’re happy with it, start digging away. And make sure it slopes at an angle so you’re getting a shallower end a deeper end so if you’re having any sort of water feature in there or at least it’s aerating properly so that you have your filter in there will operate properly. Dig it all out. Make sure it’s level on the surface around it so if you’re using any sort of insert liner it sits in there and sits flush on the top. Or, if you’re going to use a pond liner – one of those plastic sheets – make sure you take out any sticks or rocks that might pierce that once you put the water in.
So once you’re happy with the size of the hole lay some sand down in there on the bottom so that it gives it a nice, soft bottom for that weight of the water to sit on. And when you’re laying in the liner lay it out in the sun for a few minutes before you start working with it because that helps it stay more flexible. And put it in there with the sand in the hole that you’ve dug and lay it over the sides. Make sure you have enough so that it doesn’t fall back in on itself when you fill it with water. Fill it all up with water and then you can use stones or rocks or dirt to go on the outside of the liner on the top edge to cover it so it looks nice and uniform. You can cut away any excess but make sure you have enough hanging over so that you don’t – it doesn’t slip in. And keep any of that excess in case you need to patch it in the future.
And what you need to do is once it’s filled with water you have to make sure you dechlorinate the water before you put the fish and the plants in; otherwise, the fish will die.
MELISSA: Right. OK. Well there’s some of those points that you had mentioned that I hadn’t even thought about.
MELISSA: So I guess the best thing is to figure out what shape I want it and how deep I want it and where I want it.
LESLIE: Exactly. And it’s really easy. It’s not difficult to create a waterfall, if you’re thinking about getting some ledge stone and stacking it up to create a water feature part of it. Those are very easy and they’re done with simple water pumps and you’re going to need one anyway to introduce air into the water to keep it circulating properly. So if you wanted to add a water feature element they’re really easy. It’s just a matter of getting the right pump with the right pressure to send the water up as high as you need it to go.
MELISSA: Alright. I thank you.
LESLIE: You’re welcome. Enjoy it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, all I want to know is what kind of pond makes it easiest to catch the fish?
LESLIE: (chuckling) One with plastic fish.
TOM: (chuckling) There you go.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to head into the shower with Charlie in New York. What’s happening?
CHARLIE: Well, I redid a bathroom and we tiled the wall, you know, around the tub. And it’s cracking in the corners. All the – the tiles look great and, you know, in between the tiles it’s fine. But along the bottom where …
LESLIE: Where it meets the tub and where it meets the floor?
CHARLIE: Where it meets the tub. Yeah. And in the other two corners; you know, it’s a three-sided – it’s just tiled on three sides.
CHARLIE: And I have no idea (inaudible) sealed it.
LESLIE: Charlie, did you use grout to fill in those corners in the areas by where it meets the tub and the floor and the ceiling?
TOM: And that’s where you made your mistake. Because grout is not flexible and those are the areas where there’s going to be a lot of movement. The walls are always expanding and contracting and you’re going to have differential movement at the corners and at those types of intersections. So what you want to do is not use grout in those corners. I would tell you to scrape the grout out and then replace it with a good quality caulk; a silicone caulk or you can use a kitchen and bath caulk that contains some sort of an antimicrobial additive so that you don’t get mold.
CHARLIE: Oh, OK. Great.
TOM: Yeah, that’s the solution there. You’re always going to have cracks there but if you caulk it it’s not going to be an issue for you.
CHARLIE: Yeah, alright. Great. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Charlie.
Well Leslie, I hate to say it but Kermit the Frog was wrong. (Leslie chuckles) It is easy being green.
LESLIE: And thank goodness.
TOM: We’re going to give you the tips for a green home remodeling project, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, 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. And one way that you and I and Leslie can make good homes better is by building a green home.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s true. The word’s ‘going green.’ I mean these terms are everywhere. You’re hearing it in everything practically every time you turn around; from using green energy with your car, making green decisions with your car, or your cleaning products, even your appliances. And even there’s been a big green-building movement and it’s gaining a lot of attention and momentum.
TOM: And you may be wondering what it’s all about and whether it’s really worth the trouble. Because sometimes saving energy, frankly, isn’t worth the hassle. (Leslie chuckles) I mean I hate to say it but it’s true. There are some things that are just not worth …
LESLIE: Mother Earth is going to slap you, Tom.
TOM: I know, I know. But you know what? I don’t like using coupons either (Leslie chuckles). So I don’t think they’re worth the hassle. (chuckling)
Well, you know, it might be true that green building needs a bit more thought and research and design time, but it can save you money in the long run and it can boost your quality of living. Our green scene reporter, Aimee Oscamou, is here now with the details.
AIMEE: Hey, guys. How are you?
TOM: Good. So let’s start at the top. Why build green? What are some of the benefits? Why are we finally starting to pay attention to building homes in an environmentally responsible way?
AIMEE: Well, we’re seeing a huge impact just in numbers, at this point, of the kind of waste we’re putting out there of the resources we’re using up. The US Green Building Council has done some special calculations and they’ve found that in our country alone, residential and commercial buildings account for 36 percent of the total energy use and 65 percent of electricity consumption.
LESLIE: Of the globe. Sixty-five percent of the globe, we are using.
AIMEE: That – yeah.
LESLIE: That’s immense. I can’t believe we’re consuming that much.
TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s completely disproportionate. Yep. Completely disproportionate to what you would expect.
AIMEE: Well, and then there’s also the use of raw materials. We’re using 30 percent of those. Twelve percent of potable water. And then we’re putting 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions back out there and using – well, generating 136 million annual tons of waste. Those are some major numbers.
TOM: And that’s not just my house, either. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Well, let’s talk about some of the specific benefits to building a green house. Where can we really make out on this?
AIMEE: Well, there are some – three big areas of benefits. Environmental benefits, of course, you’re using products that conserve natural resources and you’re generating less waste by using green building practices and improving the air and water quality. Then there are economic ones. At this point there are so many great products out there that they often cost less to go with the green building products than standard. And your property value is enhanced by using these kinds of products and building with greenness in mind.
LESLIE: Well, I think there’s such a demand from consumers and homebuyers, overall, to be environmentally responsible that if you’re not sort of setting up your home to be along those guidelines, when it comes to sell you’re not going to have the edge over somebody else who’s done those steps.
AIMEE: Exactly. People are really looking for that in homes that they buy nowadays.
TOM: And you know what’s really cool about that? Now that there’s consumer demand for green products the retailers are now starting to have labeling programs that specifically note whether the product is green or not and that makes it easier for the consumer to know what they’re buying. You don’t have to really try to guess. I mean you can actually read about it.
AIMEE: Exactly. And if you go to your favorite retailer you’re going to find they’re starting to have more in-store features. They’re showing you where the green building products are. So, they’re making it easy for you to find products that’ll be worth your time and money.
LESLIE: Aimee, is it possible – I mean obviously if you’re building a home from scratch and starting completely anew, you can go as green as you want. But what if you’re just doing small scale renovations? Can you still incorporate green techniques or green products into the remodel?
AIMEE: Oh, absolutely. There are a few branding techniques out there that people already now about: Energy Star, for one thing – you can choose appliances that have the Energy Star label; windows; other components of home systems; and then WaterSense labeling we’ve talked about before that’s now going onto toilets and will be on other water systems for the home; and then back to the retailers – you can find what you need for your projects and really ask for those kinds of products and work with designers and architects who are interested in those kinds of green building techniques and they can guide you.
TOM: So the bottom line is that green building is good for you, it saves you money, it’s good for the environment, it’s really good for everybody. It’s sort of a win-win situation.
AIMEE: Absolutely. It definitely is.
LESLIE: And it’s even more so than just the superficial items. I mean you can really go green in ways that you’re building a certain type of heating structure for your part of the country or building your home in a way that works to its environment or its national surroundings or the region to make it work efficiently. Correct?
AIMEE: Right. Definitely. And there are health benefits, too. You know, one thing that’s come out in the last few years is how much of the air quality indoors really causes allergies and sometimes other illnesses. So people are more aware of making their home systems ones that filter all of that out and help them maintain health. That’s it.
TOM: She’s our green scene reporter, Aimee Oscamou. Great report. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. We’ll be talking to you again real soon.
LESLIE: Well, once upon a time metal roofing was the most popular type of roofing around. Well, it’s making a comeback in a big way. Up next, we’re going to tell you why metal roofing is such a great choice for reroofing your home. So stick around.
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: Do you own an old house? Do you own a new house? Whether your house is old or new you are tuned to the right place. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we help make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question. You could win a $199 air compressor from Husky. It’s the Quiet series, so you won’t tick off the neighbors. (Leslie chuckles) At 19 gallons, it’s great for nail guns, staple guns, air hammers; pretty much anything you need to inflate or power by air around the house. Worth 199 bucks. It’s a great prize. We’re going to give it to one caller this hour that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must be willing to come on the air and ask your home improvement question. So just don’t call and say, ‘Can I win the prize?’
LESLIE: ‘I want that prize.’
TOM: Because the answer is no. (Leslie chuckles) You see, we get our callers the old-fashioned way. We bribe you. You must be willing to come on the air. The number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, before the break we were talking about metal roofs. And thanks to more architectural options, colors and the durability, metal roofing is making a huge comeback on today’s homes. A big reason is its energy efficiency. The coatings that are on the metal roofs reflect the sun and help to lower your cooling costs. Plus, metal roofs can be made to simulate wood shakes, clay tiles, shingles, even Victorian metal tiles. I mean they’re gorgeous today. You cannot even believe that some of them are crafted from metal. Metal roofs are also durable, fire retardant and almost maintenance free.
Some types of metal roof coverings will even help you go green – speaking of green hot topics – since they can be produced with up to 65 percent of recyclable materials. And because the metal roof weighs so little, these roofings can be installed right over your existing roof, which eliminates the need to dispose of excess materials into a landfill.
Metal roofs can cost a little bit more but it could very well be the last roof you could put on your home.
TOM: Now, the only caution we have for you is this: underlayment. Metal roofs, especially in the southwest, hot desert climate, can absorb extra heat. This means that you need to use a quality underlayment designed to withstand the conditions. It’s really, really important. Now, in our opinion, one of the best weatherproofing products out there for metal roofs in extreme climates is a product called Grace Ultra. It’s not affected by high heat and it helps protect sloped roofs from the effects of wind-driven rain and ice dams.
If you need more information on how to choose the right type of underlayment for your roof, you can log onto the website for our friends at Grace Construction and that’s GraceAtHome.com. GraceAtHome.com. Or call us now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Russell in Ohio is next up on The Money Pit. How can we help you?
RUSSELL: Hi. Part of my house is converted from a garage.
RUSSELL: And I believe it’s just carpet over the concrete right now.
RUSSELL: And I’m wondering what would be a good solution to put down over that concrete for like a different floor, to maybe insulate a little bit but not so thick that I have to change my door heights and what-not.
TOM: I think laminate floor would be a great solution.
LESLIE: Yeah, laminate floor is a really nice solution and it comes in so many varieties of styles from a hardwood look to even a tile look. And they go in any room where you have a high-moisture situation. So they’re great for a room just like the garage. And they can go straight over the concrete flooring.
RUSSELL: Now, a laminate. Is that like the roll type or is that like (inaudible) squares?
LESLIE: No, no, no, no, no. A laminate can be – a laminate – is it made from a plastic, Tom? Is that how they make it?
TOM: Yeah. It’s like a laminate countertop except it’s a lot tougher. It’s about 20 times more durable than the kind of laminate used for countertops. And it comes in a tile that has an interlocking edge on it so you basically can snap it together. Actually, I shouldn’t say just a tile. It does come in strips as well, depending on what kind of flooring you want. But it’s a great application for putting it on top of concrete, which can be a damp surface, because it’s totally structurally stable.
RUSSELL: Oh, OK. But not like the – so Pergo wouldn’t work over that.
TOM: Well, that is – Pergo is laminate floor.
LESLIE: Pergo is a laminate.
TOM: That’s a brand of laminate.
RUSSELL: Oh, OK.
LESLIE: But if you’re looking for more options I would say check out Armstrong.com. Because they’re a flooring company that offers a huge selection of laminate floorings; anything from all different types of wood to a slate to a brick look. So there’s a lot of options and they range in prices from, say, $4 to $11 per square. So the prices are fantastic. So there’s a lot of great options and that’s a good place to start.
TOM: And they also have an insulating underlayment that goes under that floor as well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Some of them – some of them have a rollout sort of subflooring that might go on there; like an underlayment. And others of them have the underlayment directly on the back of the piece. So depending on which you choose, make sure you have the right underlayment.
RUSSELL: Excellent. The insulation is what I was looking for. Thanks a lot, folks.
LESLIE: Betty in Massachusetts, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
BETTY: I had a question regarding a summer home that we have. It’s near the ocean. It has – it’s an older home. There’s no basement at all. There’s dirt below the summer home. And there is a smell of mildew. We don’t heat it during the winter. We shut it all down. And what I’ve been doing is putting those little packets that absorb the moisture in the summertime. And I notice that there is some mold that’s beginning to develop on the – you know, near the floor and kind of starting up on the baseboard. So I’m just wondering what we could do to minimize that or to …
TOM: OK, well there’s a couple things you can do. First of all, you want to take a number of steps to minimize the moisture that’s getting into that space. So the first thing you do is you look at the gutter system outside the house. You make sure that you have a gutter system; that the downspouts are clean and free-flowing and that they’re diverted away from the foundation by at least four to six feet.
The second thing that you want to do is look at the grading. The angle of the soil around the house is really critical. You want it to slope away about six inches over four feet so you have a slight slope. You also want to make sure that the soil is not very organic. It’s not topsoil. You want clean fill dirt so any water that lands is going to move away from the foundation area.
And next you should go in the crawlspace – and I don’t know how much room you have to work in there but, if at all possible, what you want to do is cover the dirt surface of the crawl space with viscuine; with plastic sheeting.
LESLIE: And that’s a vapor barrier.
TOM: Use as large of a piece as you possibly can with as few seams as you possibly can and get it across the entire surface. This stops …
LESLIE: Tom, to seam it do you sort of meet both seams and then roll it over and staple it or do you just overlap them?
TOM: Well, what you can do is you can overlap them by maybe three or four feet. And this stops the evaporation of soil moisture up into the air into the crawl space and that stops the moisture from getting up into the house. Yeah, because the house is unoccupied, you’re always going to have that sort of damp smell. But if you reduce the volume of moisture that’s getting up there then it’s going to be a lot less likely that this house will develop any sort of a problem as a result of it. Those packets that you’re throwing down, waste of money. (Betty chuckles)
LESLIE: Yeah, they don’t really do anything. And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve almost accidentally eaten them thinking it’s candy.
TOM: Ah, it’s a sad and old and common tale, Leslie.
LESLIE: And what’s that?
TOM: The case of the mysteriously flushing toilet. It’s not a gremlin in the pipes. It’s probably just …
LESLIE: Are you sure?
TOM: … a leak. Yes. And we will flush out the answer for one our e-mailers, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question or log onto our website at MoneyPit.com where you could use our new project finder tool to search for the project that you’re working on and get all the answers you need to get the job done. And …
LESLIE: It’s even a good like reference for researching when you’re about to start on a project. Get the information first.
TOM: We’ve written so much about home improvement even we forgot what we wrote. (Leslie chuckles) So sometimes we use it to figure it out. (laughing)
LESLIE: We’re surprised.
TOM: Hey, while you’re there, also check out our newsletter. It’s free. It goes out every Friday to over 50,000 subscribers. And coming up in the next edition we’re going to have some tips on appliances. You know, today’s appliances are very smart; they’re flexible; they’re built to save money over the long haul. It’s a laundry revolution in the next edition of the Money Pit e-newsletter. We’re going to give you all the things that you need to know before you buy your next laundry.
LESLIE: And while you’re signing up for our great e-newsletter at MoneyPit.com you can shoot us an e-mail by clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie, just like Phyllis in Forest Park, Georgia did. ‘I have a toilet that seems to flush without actually using the handle; all by itself. I don’t have the old-fashioned, ball type fixture. Help, please. The water bill increased from $46 to $70 last month.’
LESLIE: ‘Could this be the problem of the increase? At any rate, help me with the toilet!’
TOM: Yes, Phyllis. It’s actually a fairly simple problem. You see, toilets have two valves in them. The one on the bottom of the tank that has – looks like a flapper – is called the flush valve. And the one that’s sort of vertical or has the big arm with the ball on it, that’s called the fill valve. And those two valves are what let the water out of the toilet and let the water back in the toilet. And because of the chlorine in the water and the …
LESLIE: Well, and stop the water from filling.
TOM: Right. And the cleaning chemicals in the water, those valves wear out. The rubber deteriorates and that’s what causes these leaks. And it can kind of like reveal itself in different ways. Sometimes you get a condition called ghost flushing, where it seems to flush on its own. Sometimes it just runs a lot. Sometimes you have to jiggle the handle or flush it several times. It all comes down to those two valves.
Now, the good news is that’s about the easiest plumbing project you can do. You can buy a replacement flush valve and fill valve for all of about 15 bucks. To replace it you simply turn the water off under the toilet. As long as the water goes off, you can flush the handle; let all the water out of the bowl and out of the tank; and then you could replace those valves. All the instructions are always on the package. Pretty straightforward job. And that’s going to really help you save some money on the water bill and also save a bit of sanity because you won’t have to listen to it run all the time.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, and you know what? The plumbing parts – the Fluidmaster folks that actually make those valves …
LESLIE: … they’re website is so informative. There are pictures and step-by-step. So if, for some reason, you’re losing a step or the directions aren’t helping you, go to the website and look at it. It really does help a lot.
Alright, Bill in Maine writes: ‘I’m replacing my old boiler and cast iron steam radiators with a radiant floor system. I’m going to be mounting the PEX to the basement subfloor. I’m confused with what is the best heat source for such a system. I’ve been told tankless hot water heaters are good. A new boiler, even new high-efficiency water heater. What’s the most efficient to run an 1,100-square-foot house?’
TOM: Well first of all, a tankless hot water heater is not for heating the floor. (chuckling) That’s for heating the domestic hot water. So you can scratch that off the list. They’re great water heaters, by the way, but they’re designed to supply domestic hot water. What I would recommend is a high-efficiency boiler and this is going to be known as a condensing boiler because it takes so much heat out of the gas that you’re burning, the only thing that’s left is water vapor which condenses and has to be pumped back out. So a condensing boiler is going to be super efficient for this house. And make sure you size it for the house. It has to be sized properly to make sure it doesn’t waste heat.
LESLIE: And Bill, if you can warm that floor on those Maine winters, you are going to be very happy.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
Now, there is an old saying that you’re going to hear more of in the next couple of months: ‘It’s not the heat. It’s the humidity.’
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s the humidity? (chuckling)
TOM: (chuckling) Right. And fortunately, there is now some new technology that can help you deal with that humidity. We’re going to talk about it on the next edition of The Money Pit.
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 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)