Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. We will help you get the job done.
Hey, are you getting ready for a big holiday meal with lots of visitors?
TOM: Are you in a cleaning frenzy? I know you are, my friend.
LESLIE: Yes, always.
TOM: You are Miss Clean. Well, just make sure that you don’t clean your oven; at least not before the crowd comes over. Why? We’re going to tell you in this hour’s show.
LESLIE: And also this hour, you know your home is battling the elements all of the time and, in fact, your roof is the first line of defense and it has to put up with quite a bit of a beating and it’s not just from snow and it’s not just from the rain. We’re going to tell you about all of your roof’s enemies and how to help you fight them.
TOM: And also this hour we’re going to talk to an interesting guy. He is known as T Chisel. (Leslie chuckles) No, he’s not a rapper. He actually started as a union carpenter in the Boston area until an inquiry put a dent in his carpentry career and that inquiry came from our pal, Bob Vila. Bob discovered Tommy MacDonald and now Tommy’s doing an interesting project. He’s actually working on a multimillion dollar piece of handcrafted furniture …
TOM: … and it’s really cool. He’s going to tell us all about it in just a bit.
LESLIE: Wow, that’s pretty crazy. That’s got to be one giant chair. (Tom laughs) And also, if you’re looking for a new way to cook up your holiday turkeys and pretty much anything else, we have got it for you. We’re giving away the Orion cooker this hour. It’s worth 149 bucks and the only way to describe this miraculous cooking device is that’s sort of a cross between a grill and an oven and it makes amazingly juicy, tender foods. You’ve got to call in to win it and you will be so happy if you do.
TOM: You know the number. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Tim in New York has a toilet question. What can we do for you?
TIM: Yes, I have a toilet in my second floor bathroom and every time I flush it it gurgles until everything flushes down.
TOM: Well, if you flush it and it’s like starving for air and like gulping …
TOM: … then it’s not vented properly. Somewhere the vent is blocked.
TOM: Now I’m not quite sure where that is. It’s probably very close …
TIM: OK, well it’s on the second floor.
TOM: No, I understand where it is in your house …
TOM: … but I’m trying to say within the lines of the house I’m not quite sure where the blockage is but if it’s somehow obstructed …
TOM: … that’s why you get that kind of gulping sound. Because when you flush a toilet and you drop all of that water down it has to – the physical space has to be replaced with air and if it’s not enough air that’s where you get sort of this gulping where it’s sort of starving for air. So the vent pipe is obstructed.
Have you tried to actually snake it out?
TIM: No, I didn’t but I took a garden hose and I went up on – it’s a third floor house.
TIM: It’s an old house and we went up on the roof and we ran the garden hose and …
TOM: Was it always this way or is it something that’s changed?
TIM: No, it just happened – it happened back in February.
TIM: It’s been like this just recently.
TOM: I have a feeling that something is obstructed. Now, have you checked the toilet itself? Because …
TIM: No, I snaked it. I have one of the regular toilet snakes; a Ridgid snake.
TIM: And I ran the snake down it. It’s – you know, and snaked it about 20 or 30 times just to be sure.
TOM: So it’s not possible that something is trapped in the body of the toilet?
TIM: I mean I ran a snake through. I don’t know if that will get rid of everything that might be stuck in there.
TOM: But you ran it from the bowl, right?
TIM: Yes, I put …
TOM: And you’re sure that you got it through the entire toilet itself.
TIM: Yep, I have – yeah, it’s the one with the …
TOM: Alright, well that’s probably clear. Yeah, it’s probably clear.
TIM: It’s shaped like a J.
TOM: OK, yeah. That’s probably clear. Then I suspect it’s somewhere below that but when you get the gulping air sound …
TOM: … it’s definitely a blocked vent somewhere.
TIM: That’s what I thought it was and when I went up on the roof and my son looked down it …
TOM: Yeah, it’s just escaping you. You’ve not found it yet but I have a feeling somewhere you’re going to find a tennis ball fell in there or a golf ball or …
TOM: … something got in there (Tim chuckles) and it’s blocking some of the air and that’s what’s causing that.
TIM: Yeah, I was thinking about just changing out the bowl itself. I wonder if that’ll solve the problem.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well that’s not going to solve it, though. But that’s not going to solve it.
TOM: You know, it’s beyond the bowl.
TOM: Alright, Tim? You’re on the right track though.
TIM: I appreciate the time.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Taking a call now from Utah. Letha is on the line. What can we do for you?
LETHA: I have this wonderful old home that’s on the historical registry.
TOM: Oh, congratulations.
LETHA: It’s 107 years old and it has four layers of roofing materials. It has two of cedar shakes and then it has two that are asphalt.
LETHA: And I’d like to go to a metal roof. My husband and I have differing opinions on how this should be done. I want to take everything off and he thinks that you could put it over it.
TOM: Well, you can put it over it. That’s one of the beauties of working with metal roofs. You can put it over.
LESLIE: But four layers?
TOM: Well, yeah. You can. I mean there’s nothing wrong with putting it over it but I kind of tend to agree with your husband that I’d rather take some of that mass off the roof with four layers.
LESLIE: No, I think that’s Letha’s opinion?
TOM: Oh, it’s Letha’s opinion? You want to take it off and he wants …
LETHA: Yes, that’s my opinion.
TOM: Yeah. I agree with you. Well then I don’t agree with you. No. (chuckling) No, I do agree with you.
LESLIE: (chuckling) The ladies win this time.
TOM: I would prefer to take it off but I will say that technically your husband is right.
LETHA: So we could put it all over all those – well, I want to take it down and put decking on it.
TOM: Oh, well that’s a whole different …
LETHA: You know, and start over with the whole roof. Because …
TOM: Well, now wait a minute. You don’t have to …
LETHA: It has areas that don’t (INAUDIBLE). In the winter time it gets that snow and ice build-up (ph).
TOM: OK, well that’s a different story. If you have areas that are sagged, that are not working right then certainly you could sheathe it and because you have a cedar shake roof you don’t have any sheathing on there. Those cedar shingles were then put on strips.
TOM: On firring strips across that roof. So if you want to go that route that is absolutely fine.
By the way, the underlayments on metal roofs are special so make sure you use the proper underlayments, too.
LETHA: Is that the – what is that?
TOM: That’s the material that goes under the metal roof. Because they do get hot there’s a special underlayment for it.
LETHA: Oh, OK. And …
TOM: A good website to check is GraceAtHome.com. They have the underlayments there for metal roofs.
Yeah, another good website is the Metal Roofing Alliance. It’s simply MetalRoofing.com. It’ll give you some tips. And that metal roofing is pretty energy efficient today, by the way. It has a coating on it that helps reflect heat.
LETHA: Alright. I’ll look those places up. I thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Letha. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit and we can help you get ready for all of those guests that are going to be ringing your bell between now and the new year because it is the holiday season. So if you want to get your house in tiptop shape before that bell springs to life, give us a call now with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anytime you like. We will help you out at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Getting ready for all those guests? You know, there’s one thing that you might not want to clean. It’s your oven. We’ll tell you why, 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 where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we talk about the ups and downs of home improvements; the fix-ups, the mess-ups and, if they’ve happened to you, the give-it-ups. (Leslie chuckles) Call us. Let us help you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, one caller we talk to this hour is going to win the Orion cooker worth 149 bucks. It’s a pretty cool new outdoor charcoal cooker that combines convection, steam, smoke. It’s like a turkey fryer without the oil and the danger (Leslie chuckles) but it does a really good job of cooking up a great meal. If you want to win it, pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, well I know everybody right now is running around, scrambling to get the house, themselves, everything ready for the holiday season because it does become quite a frenzy and you do find that you’re cleaning everything and we’re here to tell you, Tom and I, that you can vacuum; you can dust; do all of that to your heart’s content but please, think twice before you turn on that self-cleaning oven, especially right before the holidays. Because – and you’re going to appreciate this – studies show that many ovens tend to break or perform inconsistently just after a self-clean cycle, which would mean really bad things if it’s the day before the big holiday event. So give your oven a good wipe-down but save that big clean for after the guests and all of those big meals are done.
TOM: That’s right. Wait for noncritical moments in your oven’s history.
LESLIE: Oh, what a nightmare.
TOM: Don’t do it right before the guests show up.
Call us right now if you need a home improvement question answered. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The phones are lighting up. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Gerard in New York who’s got an insulation question. Tell us about it.
GERARD: The house was built in 1947 and I have the plaster walls up. There’s no insulation between the plaster walls and the brick face outside. So my question is, is it cost effective to rip down the plaster walls and put in insulation? Or I’m hearing about blown-in insulation that would maybe be a better product but I’m also hearing that the blow-in insulation, after time, it settles to the bottom. Is there any type of blow-in insulation that’s more of a foam type of insulation?
TOM: Well, first of all it’s not ‘installation,’ it’s insulation. (Tom laughs)
GERARD: (chuckling) There you go.
TOM: OK. But you’re asking is it worthwhile to take apart plaster walls just because they’re not insulated? I would say no. I would have no qualms about properly installing a blown-in, probably cellulosed-based, insulation.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But having a pro do it.
TOM: But having a pro do it because when it’s done correctly it’s put in under certain pressures that actually prevent it from settling. And this can actually be proved. You know, some of the insulation companies – he’s almost got me saying it now (Leslie chuckles); installation companies. (Gerard chuckles) Some of the insulation installers have gear where they can actually take a thermographic picture of the wall after it’s done and you can see sort of before and after where the cold spots were and where the warm spots are. So, if it’s done correctly it can be very, very effective and it’s absolutely the way to go.
LESLIE: Yeah, and if you start dealing with taking down that plaster, you’re going to deal with a disposal situation.
LESLIE: It’s going to be a giant mess and it’s not worth it just for the foam batting; that rolled-up pink stuff. I mean you can get the same effect from the blown-in stuff without making a giant mess.
TOM: For a very short period of time in the 70s there was a foam type product called urea formaldehyde foam insulation but it had all kinds of environmental issues.
TOM: People were allergic to it. And now, in new construction, we have isocyanurate foam which we spray when the walls are open.
LESLIE: Spray on the studding, right?
TOM: On the studding, which is great. But in terms of an existing house and a retrofit situation, I think the blown-in cellulose is the best way to go.
GERARD: So I can just contact a regular contractor for that or …
TOM: Well, an insulation contractor that does that on a daily basis. I mean it’s a specialist.
LESLIE: Hey, can we offer Gerard the Money Pit Homeowners Association to help him find one?
TOM: Hey, why not? Why not? Feeling generous today, so I tell you what Gerard. We will give you, to help you out with this, a membership in the Money Pit American Homeowners Association. It’s a membership that’s worth about 120 bucks and it gives you access to prescreened contractors as well as a whole host of other discount services.
GERARD: Oh, that’s very nice of you. Thank you very much. I just started listening to your show about a week ago and …
LESLIE: (INAUDIBLE) (Gerard chuckles)
TOM: There you go.
GERARD: Now, I’m – yeah. Alright.
TOM: Yeah, there’s a special section on installation contractors, too. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) I’m kidding you, Gerard.
GERARD: (chuckling) Yeah. That’s great.
LESLIE: Stop picking on him.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Gerard, if you hold on we’re going to take your name and give you a phone number to call. It’s 866-Real-Home and they will hook you up with that Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership.
And by the way, folks, if you would like to try this out yourself it’s sort of like AAA; what you get for you car. But it works for your house and it covers all kinds of services related to the home. We are giving away a Zircon laser level and a Zircon stud finder to the first 1,000 members that sign up and the membership also has a free, 30-day trial period. So it’s all available at MoneyPit.com or by calling 866-Real-Home.
LESLIE: Debbie in New Jersey needs some cleaning help. What’s going on?
DEBBIE: Our house is four years old and the flexible grout around the bottom of the tile right above the basin, that little space in between, constantly mildews. So my question is why does this continue to happen even though we’re constantly cleaning it and drying this shower after we use it and what should we do about it and is there a better product to use than that typical flexible grout?
TOM: Hmm. Flexible grout. (Leslie chuckles) Are you talking about caulk?
DEBBIE: Yeah, it’s – (Tom and Leslie laugh) It’s sort of a beige-y caulk …
TOM: Can I have a tube of that flexible grout, please? (Debbie laughs)
LESLIE: Is it in between the tiles or is it where the tile and the basin meet?
TOM: (overlapping voices) (laughing) You know, it kind of comes in a tube-y thing. (laughing)
DEBBIE: It’s different than the grout in between the tiles. It’s …
TOM: Right. Yeah, of course. Because that part’s not flexible.
DEBBIE: Oh, OK. Right. (laughing)
TOM: Yeah, you’re talking about caulk.
TOM: I’m not quite sure what kind of caulk you’re using but let me tell you what you probably should use. First of all, you want to strip out the old caulk and use a caulk softener to do that. It’s like a paint stripper for caulk.
LESLIE: It’s just going to help you pull it all out.
TOM: Yeah, and get it all cleaned out and then take some Clorox and water solution – bleach and water solution – and wipe down the joints so that anything that’s there is cleaned.
TOM: And then pick up some DAP …
LESLIE: Wait, and before you do, let that whole area dry before you go recaulking it.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Exactly. Pick up some DAP kitchen and back caulk. It’s got an additive called Microban in it that prevents it from growing any mildew or mold.
TOM: And that’s probably going to last a lot longer than what you’re doing right now.
DEBBIE: Oh, thank you so much.
TOM: OK? It’s in the aisle next to all the other flexible grout, OK? (Leslie laughs)
DEBBIE: My goodness. (chuckling)
TOM: Debbie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Robert in Pennsylvania has a question about a home inspector. What can we do for you?
ROBERT: I was just wondering if a home inspector has an obligation to let his client know that the house he’s inspecting is a modular home?
TOM: Let them know specifically that it’s a modular home? Well, you know, it might be nice information to know but it’s not a defect. I mean a modular home is actually, in many respects …
LESLIE: It could even be an asset.
TOM: Yeah, it can actually made much better than a stick-built house because it’s factory-built.
ROBERT: I’ve been reading a lot about them and they seem to be more square and better insulated and …
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, because think about it. You’re building everything in an enclosed situation so you don’t have to worry about weather or time delays and things are built soundly and efficiently indoors.
TOM: Why do ask, Robert? Did you buy one and you didn’t realize it was modular?
TOM: Well, I mean but it worked out for you because it’s actually better built. Not necessarily is it critical that a home inspector do that. I mean if you want to know what a home inspector’s responsible for that’s established by the American Society of Home Inspectors. Their website is ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org and essentially there’s a standard of practice there that says what is to be reported on and it really comes down to whether or not it’s a defect. But a modular home is certainly not a defect. You know, it’s like telling you that – how the house is built. It’s good background information. It could be modular. It could be stick-built. It could be concrete block. It could be poured concrete. You know, it’s nice information to have but the fact that it wasn’t mentioned is not necessarily something that the guy did wrong. Just sounds like something that you would have liked to have known. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t know but it worked out for you because trust us, it is a – and it can be a much better built house than one that’s constructed from scratch.
ROBERT: Oh yeah, it’s really good. But even the real estate agent because in ads I’ve seen where it’s noted that it’s a modular home.
TOM: Well, trust me. Realtors know very little about home construction. I spent 20 years as a home inspector. They don’t know too much. (laughing)
ROBERT: OK, well thank …
TOM: They liked to tell me what they knew and it wasn’t so much. (Leslie and Robert chuckle)
Robert, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Count your blessings. It’s a good house.
LESLIE: We’ve got Steve on the line who’s looking at doing some brick facing on his house. Tell us about the project.
STEVE: The house is in two colors and we want to cover the white part, the bottom part, with some kind of facing. The only one I can think of is brick and I’m sure there’s others. So we need your help.
LESLIE: What’s on the house now?
STEVE: No, paint. Just paint.
LESLIE: It’s just paint. Is it cedar shingles? Is it siding? It’s just a painted house?
STEVE: It’s cedar shingle.
LESLIE: Cedar shingle.
TOM: So you want to take the shingles off?
STEVE: The shingles are on the top part of the house.
TOM: Oh, the bottom part.
STEVE: The bottom part …
STEVE: … is just paint.
LESLIE: You know, Steve, there’s a great company – Owens Corning – and they are …
STEVE: I’m writing it down as you talk.
STEVE: Owens Corning.
LESLIE: Owens Corning and they do a synthetic stone material that you can use as siding for the entire house or the wainscoting which would be the lower half of the house and they have ones that look like brick; that look like slate; that look like flagstone, pebble, river rock. They’re beautiful. They’re very affordable. They can …
STEVE: Approximately how much would that cost, say, for the bottom part of the house? Roughly.
LESLIE: It depends on the material that you choose. I recently did a project with it and it ran – and I only did the front of the house to keep it under budget, but it was about – without installation I would say it was about $4,000 for the material and then we did the install ourselves on my makeover show The Ugliest House on the Block. But …
LESLIE: … to have it done through a local vendor and their installer, they’ll give you a good price and the product is gorgeous.
STEVE: Good. Good.
LESLIE: The website’s CulturedStone.com. If you go to their website you can put in your zip code and find a local retailer. It’s a national company so they sell everywhere.
STEVE: Oh, good.
TOM: Steve, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
STEVE: I thank you very much.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit and hey, are you one of the people that could say, ‘I build multimillion dollar pieces of furniture’? (Tom chuckles) Well, probably not. I know of one guy who does and he’s coming up with us. He’s a guy known as T Chisel. That’s right, my frizzles. And he’s going to offer up some tips on your woodworking projects, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem tankless water heaters, which qualify for a $300 energy efficient tax credit if purchased before the end of this year. Learn more at Rheem.com. That’s R-h-e-e-m.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You know, it’s not everyday that someone can claim to work on a multimillion dollar project but that’s just what our next guest is doing right now. He was a union carpenter in Boston before a change of fate led him to the fine furniture business. He was handpicked by Bob Vila as a guest on his television program and the rest, as they say, is history. He’s known as T Chisel of the Rough Cut Show at BobVila.com. We’d like to welcome Tommy MacDonald to the program.
TOMMY: Hey, Tom. How are you?
TOM: So you’re a carpenter that made good, huh?
TOMMY: Yeah, I was. Yeah. I was on the Big Dig for quite a few years. I started in the carpenter’s union when I was about 18 years old and I went through the [Robert T. Marshall] (ph) training center and I became a journeyman and I got my builder’s license and I had always done carpentry work on the side but my main job was doing heavy highway construction; you know, bridges, tunnels, all that kind of thing. You know?
TOM: Right. Plus or minus an inch or two didn’t matter much, right?
TOMMY: Yeah, not on that stuff. You know?
TOM: Yeah. Well, you’re a man after my own heart. I see that you sold a five-bedroom colonial and built your workshop with the proceeds. Good investment.
TOMMY: Yeah, I’m trying, you know?
TOM: (chuckling) Hey, so tell me about this piece of furniture that you’re working on through BobVila.com. I understand that it’s a $13 million piece of furniture and you are actually doing a model of this. Tell me about it.
TOMMY: Yeah, you know, I was just fortunate enough to take sound advice from people around me and I signed up for the Providence Fine Furnishings show last year.
TOMMY: And I had won and the director of the RISD museum – her name is Hope – she saw my work and then had invited me to her museum, you know?
TOMMY: And I went through the museum and she basically told me I could decide to build whatever I wanted and use anything in her museum as a model and …
TOMMY: Yeah, I know it’s flattering; especially, you know, I’ve only been doing it for a few years. So I saw her Boston Bombe secretary and I decided that that would be the piece, you know?
TOM: And so what’s the history of this piece? It’s called the Chippendale Bombe Secretary. How old is it?
TOMMY: This piece is from around 1760, 1780.
TOMMY: Oh, yeah.
TOM: But back then they didn’t have the power tools that you have today. Do you feel like you’re cheating a bit?
TOMMY: Well, I don’t have about 15 apprentices in my shop either, you know? (chuckling)
TOM: Well, that’s true. (chuckling)
TOMMY: And so, hey, you know, I’m way over my head on this one but I have a lot of guys in my corner that have been helping me and guiding me through. I mean it’s almost absurd that I would even attempt such a piece, you know? It’s really an intricate, involved, heavily ornate, geometric wonder.
TOM: It’s beautiful. I saw it at BobVila.com and again, it’s – your show there is called the Rough Cut Show.
Now, with a $13 million piece of furniture they didn’t just let you go in there and take it apart to figure out how it was put together, did they?
TOMMY: You know, they practically did. They were really …
TOM: (chuckling) Really?
TOMMY: … inviting to us. Yeah. I mean I was flattered, you know, and I invited my – you know, the guys from BobVila.com they came down and filmed it and the guys from the North Bennet Street School and we had a couple of art handlers there and it was really surreal for me because, you know, I’m not one to go into a lot of museums. It’s kind of like a new world to me, you know?
TOMMY: So they let us in there and they opened up the drawers and they pulled them out and they flipped them over and we talked about them and we drew them and we pulled patterns off of them and …
TOMMY: … no one had touched this piece in maybe 100 years or so.
TOM: Well, that’s pretty impressive. So what other kinds of things are you working on right now besides this Chippendale?
TOMMY: This is it.
TOM: That’s it, huh?
TOMMY: Oh, yeah. It’s a job.
TOM: That’s a full-time job?
TOMMY: All-commanding and I live, eat, sleep and drink nothing but this piece.
TOM: Well, if there’s somebody out there that’s thinking about getting into furniture making as a career, any advice for them?
TOMMY: You really have to be passionate about it for one, you know, and if this is something that you really want to follow just my advice is to start small. Pick things that you can build in a short amount of time to feel good about it, you know, and try not to be paralyzed by perfection.
TOMMY: Do the best you can at the time that you’re at and then move on, you know, and over time you’ll get pretty good at it, you know?
TOM: Great advice. Tommy MacDonald, T Chisel, the Rough Cut Show at BobVila.com. Interesting story, Tommy. When do you expect to finish the piece?
TOMMY: I’m hoping by the end of November. I was shooting for October but, you know, I think it’s going to be closer to November.
TOM: Hey, you can’t rush a masterpiece. Tommy MacDonald, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOMMY: My pleasure, Tom. Thank you.
LESLIE: Man, what an interesting project.
Alright, well here’s something that’s pretty mundane because you’re around it all the time; it’s always overhead and you really take your roof for granted, I am sure. But you need to remember that your roof, it is being attacked on a daily basis and not just when it’s raining or snowing or facing weather elements. We’re going to uncover your roof’s biggest enemies and how to protect against them, all of them, right after this.
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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we make good homes better and you, if you’ve got a project you’re working on or thinking about working on and you’ve got that burning home improvement question, well pick up the phone and dial 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only are you going to get that answer which is going to make your life so much easier, we’ve got a really cool prize this hour that only one lucky Money Pit caller is going to win and it’s the Orion cooker. It’s worth 149 bucks and it’s a new outdoor charcoal cooker thing that combines convection and steam and smoke and I know a lot of people love to take their turkeys outside this time of year and put them in one of those deep fryers. Well, this is way healthier than a fryer and the Orion cooker is going to zippily speed up the cooking of your 20-pound turkey to, get this, two hours. So it is a great thing and let me tell you, Tom made a four-pound chicken and it was the tenderest, most tasty thing ever and it is delicious.
TOM: Meat was falling off the bone.
TOM: Yep and we’re doing the turkey the same way. So give us a call if you want to win it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We like to say that this show covers soup to nuts and floorboards to shingles because shingles are a place that breaks down an awful lot. Your roof is constantly being attacked, day and night …
TOM: … rain or shine, ice, snow, wind. You name it. But without proper care your roof is definitely vulnerable to sun’s heat. UV rays can cause the material to deteriorate and crack over time and when rainwater gets in under those roof coverings it can work it’s way into the roof deck and cause the structure to rot. That’s why the roof is really the most important structural component of your house. So, how do you take care of it? Well, it starts with sealing up the leaks.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And in fact, many leaks aren’t from a hole in a shingle itself. They’re actually caused by flashing leaks and you really want to think about good, tight flashings, especially around detail areas like chimneys or vents or skylights; anywhere you’ve got a protrusion from the roof or you’ve got two roof lines meeting. Because water can sneak into the house in these very vulnerable spots. And a lot of these threats that we’re talking about, they can’t be prevented but a lot can. And we really recommend using a premium self-adhered waterproof underlayment like Grace’s Ice and Water Shield and this is something that’s installed underneath the roof shingles and directly to the roof’s deck itself and any moisture that’s going to get under those shingles will not find it’s way into your home’s interior and that’s the goal there; keeping the inside dry.
If you want some more information about the bevy of roofing enemies and problems and pitfalls and especially how to combat them, there’s a great website for the Grace folks. It’s GraceAtHome.com. Lots of great information there.
TOM: Well, pick up the phone right now and call us. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: We’ve got Cynthia in New York who’s got a mold situation. Tell us about it.
CYNTHIA: Well, my bathroom ceiling and along the walls have mold and mildew and I never close the window but it’s there all the time and I don’t know what to do to take it away and keep it away.
TOM: You say you never close the window. So your window’s open all the time?
TOM: OK, do you have an exhaust fan in your bathroom?
CYNTHIA: No, I have a window that opens and closes …
CYNTHIA: … and it stays open.
TOM: Yeah. OK, well, I mean obviously you have high humidity in there. It’s not venting very well with just the window. If you could find a way to get an exhaust fan in there that would be great. I’m assuming that you can’t so let me give you some step-by-step instructions on what to do here.
First of all, to remove all of that mold and the mildew and it’s attacking the walls, you need to clean it with a bleach-and-water solution. I would mix up one-third bleach, two-thirds water. I’d put it in a spray bottle. I’d spray it. I’d let it sit and then wipe it down so that you can get rid of that.
The next step is to take those walls and to prime them and I would use an oil-based primer because that is going to seal in anything that’s there. We don’t know what the surface of the walls are. Right now you could have different soap deposits on it, which is very common in a bathroom and if you prime it with an oil-based primer that’s going to do the best job of neutralizing whatever’s on that wall at that point. And then the next step is to paint it and when you paint it you want to make sure you use a paint with mildicide. I’m talking about the color coat; the topcoat. I would use a flat or an eggshell and I would make sure that is has a mildicide and you may even want to buy additional mildicide and add it to it and that will give you a paint surface that’s going to stand up as best it can to the propensity for mold to form on it.
And even after you get this together with the lousy ventilation system that you have there you may seem some form but if you get it off there quick it’s not going to build up and that’ll do it.
CYNTHIA: Thank you very much. I think that’ll be quite the thing to do.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: It’s always amazing to me that the rule, as far as building, is that if you’ve got a window in your bath you don’t need an exhaust fan. But they never do the trick.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, works in January, right? It works in January too. So well.
LESLIE: You know, it’s …
TOM: When it’s really cold.
LESLIE: It’s not sucking the moisture out of there by just opening it up. What if you put one of those fans that sort of sit in the window and then you close the window on top of it that apartment dwellers have.
TOM: (overlapping voices) I guess you can except half the time those windows are next to the shower so now you have water and electricity and …
LESLIE: Oh, great.
TOM: … and that doesn’t mix.
TOM: But anything you can do to get a permanent vent situation in there is going to solve that problem, Cynthia.
LESLIE: Talking to Joyce in Montana where the roof is getting kind of off of things. What’s going on over there? Your shingles are falling off?
JOYCE: Yes, they’re falling off and they’re curling up.
JOYCE: And the roof is only about 12 years old.
JOYCE: So I …
TOM: Is it a second layer, Joyce?
JOYCE: No. This is – the house was built new and this roof is the original roof.
TOM: Oh, OK. Well that’s very unusual but if they’re falling off they’re telling you something and obviously you’re going to need to replace the roof.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s a sure sign that it needs replacing.
TOM: And I suspect, Joyce, that your roof is not ventilated properly and it’s overheating because 15 years is not very long for an asphalt shingle roof to last. If the roof is – if the attic space is overheating, it’s not vented properly, that can cause this exact condition because the shingles dry out a lot quicker than they normally would if it had correct ventilation.
JOYCE: OK. OK, that makes sense because it does – there is a bedroom above the garage and it gets so hot in that bedroom that my daughter can’t sleep in it in the summertime.
TOM: Yeah, let’s talk about proper roof ventilation because I think we’re talking, obviously, about a new roof here.
LESLIE: And this would be the perfect time to fix all these things.
TOM: The correct roof ventilation would be a combination of ridge vents which go down the peak of the roof and then soffit vents at the overhang. And even if it looks like you may have perforated soffit vents, you need to make sure that the soffits are not blocked by insulation. If you have these two vents together what happens is as the wind blows over your roof structure it sort of depressurizes in the area of the ridge at the peak of the roof and that will draw hot air out of that space and it’ll go in or pressurize at the area of the soffit. So you get this flow that goes in the soffit, under the roof sheathing and out at the ridge and that’s a cycle that repeats 24/7/365 so in the summertime it takes heat out; in the wintertime it takes moisture out. You’ve got to get this flow working properly; otherwise, when you put your next roof layer on, again, it’s not going to last that long.
Now, if you plan on staying in this roof for the long haul we would recommend that you remove the first layer because especially in a situation where you’re overheating, if you have two layers of roof the first layer acts as a heat sink and will sort of store additional heat and that will force the second layer to wear out that much quicker. It usually cuts about a third to a quarter of the roof life off the second layer. So strip the first layer, improve the ventilation, put a new layer of roof shingles on and then you should get a roof that lasts you 20 or 25 years.
JOYCE: Does it matter what type of shingle I use?
TOM: No, a standard asphalt shingle is going to be fine. You know, lighter colors perhaps reflect a little bit better. But it’s more important that you get your ventilation straightened out.
JOYCE: OK. OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Joyce. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up in just a bit, including how to deal with the fact that your project just doesn’t have a big budget. Believe me, I am queen of making it work on a little bit of money and yes, you can take on a major renovation a little at a time. We’re going to give you an example, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you, driving around in your car listening to The Money Pit, I bet you there has been a time when you’ve heard a question or heard a project or something that we’re talking about and you’re like, ‘Well geez, that’s exactly what I wanted to know but I missed it.’ Well if you want to hear it again you can catch everything, anything, even that little detail that you missed by going to MoneyPit.com and you can play that whole show or that segment again. In fact, all of our recent shows are available online and you can actually listen on your desktop by downloading a podcast or you can even read and even search our transcripts. All of it is free. It’s a ton of information on that wonderful website.
TOM: And while you’re there why don’t you click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question just like Sue did from Asheville, North Carolina.
LESLIE: Alright, Sue writes: ‘I just moved into my house which has a typical insert shower/tub combo. I’m a bathtub kind of girl. The tub is too small and is useless for adults. I plan to do a very small-scale bathroom makeover but I can’t afford to do the whole thing now. Does it make any sense to get a new tub now and do the rest later and the rest means flooring, vanity, cosmetic changes. I could live without it being mismatched for a while but I don’t know if I can live without a bathtub.’
TOM: I don’t know, Sue. If you’re going to do this job you certainly have to do it in that order, not the other order …
TOM: … because removing and replacing that bathtub is the biggest part of the project. So I would suggest that you do do it first and if you can’t afford the rest of the fixtures then put those off for awhile. But I have a feeling that you’re just going to get on a roll and find the money because frankly, in the scope of all of that plumbing and construction work, you know, adding just those fixtures and replacing those fixtures, especially at the cost of them today because I mean you can go to a home center and the prices have come really far down. I mean even the vanities. I’m seeing gorgeous wood, custom-looking made vanities on the store shelves of home centers.
TOM: And you know, it used to be all you could get was the particleboard, white boxes but now they’ve got some real furniture-quality pieces there and the prices are pretty far down. So I think you’re probably end up doing it all but certainly do the tub first.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got another here. Timothy in Frederick, Maryland writes: ‘My shower door won’t stay closed when it’s shut. It’s a swinging door. My feeling is that the magnetic strip needs to be replaced. Well, how often should I replace that magnetic strip and where can I find them?’
TOM: Well, actually whenever it stops sticking, Tim. (chuckling) And you can find those online and you can find them in home centers. Those magnetic strips are actually handy for a whole bunch of things. You probably have used them for hanging pictures.
LESLIE: Oh gosh, the magnetic strips are great. You can use them for pictures. You can use them on your kitchen’s backsplash for knife storage. I mean there’s really a ton of useful things to do with the magnets. They’re inexpensive; they’re easy to install and you’re going to be showering with that door closed in no time.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
Hey, before you go, you’ve got a new article coming out this month in Country Home magazine. Tell us about it.
LESLIE: Yeah, thanks. It’s really great. In the November issue, which is on stands now, we take a really beautiful earthenware piece, a beautiful vase, and I turned it into a lamp, which is a really super-great project especially for this time of year when you want to make an interesting one-of-a-kind gift or just jazz up the home scenery for the holidays. Lovely project, really easy to do and the December issue, which hits stands almost any day now, is all about holiday gift-giving for that difficult home improvement, DIYer in your life. So a lot of good information there and I’ve been having a great time with Country Home.
TOM: Now what’s their website?
LESLIE: It’s CountryHome.com.
Hey, coming up next week on the program, you know one of the trickiest parts of laying flooring – which, by the way, is the number one question we get asked about most frequently on this program – is not working yourself into a corner. (Leslie chuckles) No, it’s not that. It’s making sure that the floor is straight. So coming up next week we’re going to tell you how to tell you how to make sure those lines are straight and true with an insider’s trick of the trade.
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.)