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: And we make good homes better. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now if you’d like some tips on how to get organized. If you’ve been putting that off for a while and you don’t know where to start, no problem; because coming up on today’s program, we’re going to have tips to help you hide that clutter for now, so you can at least cross that off your holiday list.
LESLIE: (chuckling) And if cooking is another item on your list, make sure you give your stove’s vent hood its own maintenance. You’ve got to pay attention to it. Show it some love. It’s the holidays. Don’t forget to put them on your list. It’s always there and you’ve got to remember that it needs a little TLC to keep it functioning well, so we’re going to tell you what you need to know to purge it of all of that grease and grime.
TOM: And speaking of cooking and cleaning, how about an all-natural way to clean your oven; something you can do right now that’s not messy, doesn’t have any overpowering fumes and you can probably do it with ingredients that you have in your cabinets right now. We’re going to give you that recipe a little later.
LESLIE: And if a painting project is on your list of to-dos this fall, we’re giving away a set of Styletto paintbrushes this hour. It’s worth 20 bucks and these are super-cool and, might I add, very helpful arrow-tipped paintbrushes that will make cutting-in and all of your painting projects an absolute breeze.
TOM: So give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will toss all callers this hour into The Money Pit hardhat and send out that set of Styletto brushes to one winner.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Joe in Connecticut is looking to go green with his energy consumption. What can we do for you?
JOE: Hi. Yeah, I am going to need to reroof my garage here and it’s a two-car garage.
JOE: And I had heard one of my friends who lived in Alaska that said that he had had solar panels installed and a windmill and ended up making more power than he used and I was just wondering if you could give me any information on that or vendors or that kind of stuff.
TOM: Well, certainly; considering solar energy and wind energy are two good technologies, but you’ve got to have the right home for it. I mean you’ve got to have …
LESLIE: And I don’t think you can just put up a turbine in your backyard.
TOM: Well, in the more crowded areas of the northeast, the local zoning officials get rather emotional about that (chuckling), so you have to have the proper permits. That being said, if you did have clearance, certainly putting up a wind generator or adding solar panels to your roof are two good ways to reduce your reliance on the traditional electrical system.
LESLIE: And there are solar panels that look like roofing shingles; so you could – instead of those big, giant, solar panels that you’ve seen sort of sit off on the roof itself, these sort of are the same as an asphalt shingle and they sort of get laid in intermittently across the roof and they generate power as well. I would check with your local power provider that your use currently to find out what their solar capacity is, what you would have to generate to get off the grid and start sort of feeding their power source and getting some money back.
TOM: Also Joe, there are a lot of rebates that are available right now for alternative energy sources, so you might want to look into that and find out if, in your area and particularly in your state, whether or not there are rebate programs that you could take advantage of. I know there are many of them in New Jersey and I think Connecticut as well; so you might want to find out about that.
LESLIE: Donna in California needs some help with a remodeling project. What’s going on?
DONNA: Oh, we’re remodeling our kitchen and my husband would prefer if it we did not replace all the kitchen tile. He just wants to add on to the existing tile to extend the bar. So needless to say, we’re trying to find grout that matches some grout from quite a few years back.
TOM: It’s very difficult to get grout to match because even if you had the original bag of grout that you put in, obviously, with all the wear and the tear and the cleaning of the tile over the years, it does tend to discolor and if you put new grout in that new section, it would be dramatically different. Now the good news is give it a year or two; it’d probably end up being the same. But the other thing that you could do is if you did clean the old grout and then put the new stuff in, you could probably stain it using a concrete stain.
LESLIE: Well, yeah. Or it’s like a grout dye or a grout tint, they call it, and you can apply it right to existing dried grout and it totally paints it.
DONNA: Oh, well where would I find that kind of product?
LESLIE: You know, Donna, there’s actually a great online resource you should look at and it’s simply titled GroutDye.com. And when you snoop around the website, you’ll see there’s a color chart and I think they offer something like 17 or 20 colors; they’re custom mixed at the time of order so you know that everything is fresh and the colorant is going to be really adherent and stick to the grout. And it goes on with either a toothbrush or a special applicator bottle and it seems like it’s a really easy product to apply and it should give you the results you’re looking for.
TOM: Yeah, Donna. Just make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on that because you want to make sure that that old grout is super clean before you put this on so you’ll get good and even adhesion and absorption from the old to the new and then it’s all going to match.
DONNA: Excellent, excellent. Thank you guys very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Donna. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call if you need a major home improvement project to help you work off all of that extra weight (Tom chuckles) from that very large Thanksgiving dinner. I know I’m having a hard time getting my tool belt on this weekend. (chuckling)
TOM: (overlapping voices) Back on? (chuckling)
LESLIE: So give us a call if you need help getting some projects done around the house, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
And if those Thanksgiving crowds left your house in a real mess, no problem. You don’t have to declutter your home to make it look neater. We’re going to have some tips to help you hide your stuff, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional-feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi Power Tools. Pro features. Affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, especially if you’ve got a painting project on your mind, because we’re giving away a set of three Styletto paintbrushes worth 20 bucks. It’s a very unique brush, this Styletto brush. It really gives you sort of the edge when you need precision in your painting because it’s cut in sort of a diamond shape. It’s got a point on it so it’s easy to cut around walls, ceilings, corner, mouldings. They really let you express your style with ease. You’re not going to be getting paint in the places you don’t want it to be and we’re going to give that set of brushes away to one caller who reaches us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question.
LESLIE: Yeah, and painting it really is a great project for this time of year and during the holidays it can help to give an old room in your house a brand, spanking new look that your guests are just going to love, but only if you clear the clutter out of those rooms first. And if the thought of finding a home for all of those things that you don’t know exactly what to do with, because that’s why they’re sticking out in the first place, is just totally overwhelming you, well maybe you can just procrastinate a little longer and just stow your stuff before your family comes to dinner.
First, you want to get rid of the stuff that you don’t use or you don’t need on a daily basis. And once you’ve pared down all of your belongings a bit, you can use laundry baskets to sort and hold things temporarily and stick those baskets in a bedroom closet and your home is instantly decluttered. Just don’t open that closet door.
TOM: Underscore temporary fix. We’re not recommending we turn your house (Leslie chuckles) into sort of a packrat paradise. But you could also think about hiring a cleaning service for just a one-time visit. It’s worth the money; they are pros; they will see the dirt – you can’t because they’re so used to it; they’ll scrub that place and it’ll look fantastic for you, for your family, for your guests and you can cross one more thing off your to-do list at this busy holiday time of the year.
888-666-3974. Call us right now if you’ve got a home improvement project in mind that we can help you with.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Now Mike in New Jersey is thinking about putting some carpeting in the basement. Mike, you know how we feel about that.
MIKE: I know. (Leslie chuckles) But I had carpeting in the basement and I’m remodeling the basement so I want to put new carpeting back down. But the old carpeting had padding and I’m told to glue the new one down, so I don’t know what to do.
TOM: Ugh. Don’t do it. Don’t do it, Mike. If you put carpeting in that basement – I mean I’m glad you survived to make this phone call; having had carpet down there all those years. (Mike chuckles)
LESLIE: Yeah, you’ve never had water down there?
MIKE: No, no.
TOM: Yeah, it’s just not a good idea. Even if you don’t have water, Mike, there’s so much moisture and humidity in that slab; that, combined with the dirt and the dust that will get in that carpet, is going to grow mold in a big way.
LESLIE: And it causes a whole host of respiratory situations.
TOM: Yeah, especially as you get older. I would definitely not put carpeting in the basement. Here are some more options …
TOM: … to give you something to choose from.
If you want something that’s really good looking and is going to be dimensionally stable, you can think about engineered hardwood floor. It will look like a regular hardwood floor that you might have higher up in the house, but it’s engineered so it’s dimensionally stable; it’s made of alternating layers of hardwood.
Now if you really want a carpet, put the engineered floor down and then put some throw rugs on top of it so you can still have that soft surface underfoot. But whatever you do, don’t glue a carpet to that concrete floor. You’re just asking for trouble.
MIKE: OK, I already did partial laminate in the kitchen area of the basement on the cement; actually, on the old linoleum.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, that was a good choice. Yeah, that was a good choice. Laminate floor is another good choice.
MIKE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Yeah, actually, my wife wanted to do the whole basement with that but I wanted to do the carpeting, so …
TOM: Well, your wife’s a smart woman. (Mike chuckles)
LESLIE: And you know what? The laminate all in the basement is going to make the space seem so much bigger. It’s going to be easier to clean and you’re going to find you enjoy hanging out down there a lot more because you’re not going to feel like sneezy or allergy-ish without any explanation.
MIKE: That’s true.
TOM: And Mike, remember, if you go for the laminate, there are so many colors and patterns. I mean it doesn’t have to look like a vinyl floor; it can look like hardwood, it can look like tile, it can look like stone. So you have a lot of choices.
MIKE: Yeah, that’s true. I’ve seen that. OK. OK, very good.
TOM: Alright, Mike. Have we talked you out of the carpet?
MIKE: Yes, you have. Yes, you have.
TOM: Good. (chuckling)
LESLIE: He’s like maybe.
TOM: Our job is done. (Mike chuckles) Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Susie in North Dakota needs some help with a leaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.
SUSIE: Oh, I’ve been here 13 years and this flat roof is driving me nuts.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
SUSIE: I had half-flat (sp) put on it. Still leaked. I put hot tar on it. I had the overhangs enclosed and the last application was spray foam that was supposed to be guaranteed not to leak for 10 years.
SUSIE: First time it rained it leaked.
TOM: Oh, boy. Have you been having a time of it with these roofers? Have they been coming back and living up to warranties or what’s the situation there?
SUSIE: Oh, I can’t talk about that. It’s in court.
TOM: It’s that bad, huh?
TOM: Alright. Now what kind of house do you have?
SUSIE: I bought two old churches.
SUSIE: And this flat roof is in between them.
TOM: Mm-hmm. So you’re getting water that’s like dumping on from both sides?
SUSIE: No, I have commercial eaves; five-inch.
TOM: OK. OK. But the flat roof section is in between two buildings? Is that what’s going on?
TOM: Alright. Well, if you’ve been putting stuff on top of this and it’s still leaking, you’re probably at the point now where everything needs to be stripped down to the frame. And once you do that, then it can be specked out for a brand new roof. When you’re trying to decide what kind of roof that you’re going to use, you’re probably going to either do a built-up roof – and if you do a built-up roof it’s going to be at least a five-ply, not a three-ply; and if not, you might want to consider a rubber roof. Now a rubber roof is a good option because once it’s sealed in place it’s totally impervious to water and it lasts a really long time. But to try to deal with an existing roof that’s had so many applications of so many different products, you are doing nothing but masking the problem and I think that if you got this stripped down and started from scratch, with a good-quality roofing company that delivered on a good-quality warranty on top of the work, that’s the only way you’re going to get this thing to stop once and for all.
LESLIE: Heading over to Pennsylvania to chat with Damon. What can we do for you today?
DAMON: I finished my basement and we had a real torrential rain.
DAMON: And around my utility room down there, where the water heater is and the furnace, we had water all the way around the basin. What I found out was what I believed is the problem is there was a major downspout and a major water – where the water evacuates (inaudible at 0:13:42.3) – it was blocked with leaves and stuff.
TOM: Yep, and that is the most common cause of water problems in a basement, Damon.
LESLIE: That’s how my basement flooded.
TOM: You need to get that water away from the foundation perimeter. So cleaning the gutters; cleaning the downspouts; extending the drains and improving the slope of the soil around that wall so that everything runs nicely away from the building, that will stop the wet basement.
DAMON: Alright, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Damon. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Randy in Texas needs some help with a brick project. What happened?
RANDY: Well, I have recently downsized houses and I’ve got this place that was built, I guess, in the late 70s and it’s got a neat fireplace in it that goes through – it’s double-sided. It goes from the living room area into the dining room area and I guess whoever had the place before me decided they didn’t like the brick look and painted it all white.
LESLIE: Yay. (Tom chuckles) Terrible.
RANDY: And it’s nice and ugly now and I’m trying to decide whether I want to just take it down to the brick or put on some slate tile or something like that that would make it look better and I just know that I need to get that paint off before I can do anything to it. So I’m trying to find the best way to get that paint off of there.
LESLIE: How much time and energy you got? (Tom and Leslie laugh)
RANDY: I got all kinds of time and energy-wise, well, it depends on what day you catch me. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: I tell you, there is not a thing out there, except professional sandblasting, that’s going to get that paint off.
RANDY: Oh, alright. That’s what I was afraid of.
TOM: Yeah, you might just want to think of a new decorating scheme. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Can’t you adhere a slate or some sort of stone facing on top of the paint?
TOM: Sure. What about one of those Owens Corning products? That would look great.
LESLIE: You know, that’s true. Owens Corning came out with a new interior product. They had one outside called cultured stone veneer, but there’s an interior version of it that’s far lighter weight and it’s made – I mean it’s not real stone; it’s like compressed concrete to make it look like real stone and the color is all through it and it comes sort of in a swatch of different colors to make up this beautiful tonation and they do river rock and flagstone and it installs super easy and that’s a great application for a fireplace.
TOM: And the thing is, Randy, if you did go through all that work to remove the paint, you might find out that there was a reason that they painted it to begin with.
RANDY: Right. That’s the other thing I’m afraid of.
RANDY: Now what do you have to do to make that product adhere to it, then? I mean do you use a regular mastic?
TOM: It’s a mastic adhesive. It’s very lightweight, it’s easy to do and it’s easy to cut and I think that that’s probably the best solution for you.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and their website gives a ton of very detailed directions including what type of adhesive and, you know, how to apply it; depending on which cultured stone you choose. But make sure you look at their interior product.
RANDY: Alright, well I appreciate your help very much. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Randy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jean’s calling from Long Island, New York. What can we do for you today?
JEAN: You can help me get the dents out of my carpet from where my furniture had been.
TOM: Did you get new furniture, Jean?
JEAN: No, I just rearranged my living room.
TOM: Oh, OK.
JEAN: Bad mistake. I should have left things where they were.
TOM: And how many years did the old furniture stay in that one place?
JEAN: Oh, about 20. (Tom laughs)
LESLIE: Oh, gosh. So you’re dealing with really hefty, hefty, hefty depressions here. What kind of carpet is it? Does it have a long pile? Is it short? What is it like?
JEAN: No, it’s not long, but – I don’t know what to call it.
LESLIE: Alright. We have a short carpet in our living room and I tend to move the furniture around a lot. Now, the furniture has maybe only sat there five years or so but still dented. I usually take a fork, a comb and my vacuum with the hose attachment and maybe that like fine attachment that you use to get behind the radiator or something.
JEAN: Yes, I know what you mean.
LESLIE: And I’ve taken the fork to sort of puff up the pile a little bit; to sort of scratch through it and sort of make it stand up again and then I’ve taken the vacuum attachment and just really worked that area and then the fork and the comb again. And you know, after about an hour or so (Jean and Tom chuckle), it does do the trick. But I mean it …
JEAN: Only an hour, huh?
LESLIE: It does take time but it really does work.
JEAN: Well, I had gone online and they said to dampen the spots; to wet it, actually.
TOM: You know what my concern is …
LESLIE: You can do that …
TOM: You know what my concern is, Leslie; if she’s had the furniture on the carpet it’s not so much the carpet that’s showing the dent as it is the foam below, which may be …
JEAN: Ah, yeah.
LESLIE: The padding.
TOM: Yeah, the padding may be completely destroyed in that spot.
JEAN: Well, I either live with it or buy new carpeting. I think my decision has been made. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: (chuckling) I say try my trick. It could work. It could do it.
JEAN: I’ll give that a try; yes, I will. Thanks so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jean. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, there’s one appliance in your home that certainly gets a major workout this time of year and that’s your stove. And there’s one thing that sort of partners along with your stove that works just as hard but gets very little credit and that’s your stove’s vent hood. Well, we want you to show your appreciation to the vent hood by keeping it in tiptop shape. We’re going to tell you how, 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: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and since it is the holidays and everybody’s getting very busy around their money pits this time of year and cooking is on everybody’s to-do list, you really need to pay attention to your stove and, more importantly, the filter that keeps all of the air in your kitchen clean and keeps that grease and grime out of every nook and cranny around the kitchen. So you do need to pay extra attention to your stove’s vent hood; especially this time of year.
You want to clean standard filters, if you’ve got those in your vent hood, with a degreasing solution; then follow it up with warm, soapy water. Or you can just take it out and put it in the top rack of your dishwasher. It works just as well and it saves one more thing from your to-do list.
If you’ve got a unit that uses activated charcoal filters, make sure you replace those filters on a regular basis. Follow the directions. If it’s once a month, do that; once a year, do that. Just pay attention to it.
TOM: Well, if you like that tip there are tons more on our website at MoneyPit.com along with our complete inventory of home improvement articles; hundreds of ways that you can find the information that you need to get the jobs done around your house.
888-666-3974 is another way that you can get the info you need to help you out. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Heading down south to Florida where Umberto has a question for us. What can we do for you today?
UMBERTO: Yeah, thank you for taking my call, first of all. I have a condominium in Florida and it has brick construction; so it’s not – it doesn’t lend itself to a lot of cutting and patching that drywall.
UMBERTO: So that and I want to add a washing machine. And my idea was to put a washing machine next to the kitchen sink. So I’m looking to see if there is, in the market, a washing machine that goes under the kitchen counter like …
TOM: Umberto, I know exactly what you’re speaking of and there actually are a couple of manufacturers that make washers or what’s called a washer/dryer – it’s one appliance that does both washing and drying; one of which is an appliance company called Thor. They’re a not-well-known brand but they’ve actually been around since, I think, the early 1900s. Their …
TOM: Their website is ThorAppliances.com and their washer/dryer combination – which, again, is one unit – is about the exact same size as a dishwasher. It’s 23 3/8 wide and 33