Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. We’re here to help you get the job done. The number is 888-666-3974.
Fall has fell.
LESLIE: Fallen? (chuckles)
TOM: Is that correct? Fallen? Well, it’s fallen which basically means – let’s talk about the projects you’re doing right now. Your temperature is starting to drop so you’re going to start paying for the heating bills very, very quickly and they’re going to go up; more so than last year. The gutters are going to be clogging very shortly. If you haven’t cleaned them yet, it’s time to get out there and get the job done. We can give you some tricks of the trade to do that.
Before winter storms start to hit, you might want to tackle some of those roofing projects you’ve been putting off. You know, now is a great time to get a pair of binoculars and go out and walk around and inspect your roof. If you see any loose shingles, broken shingles, areas where the roof seems pulled apart, like around flashing, now is a great time to do that.
Whatever is going on at your house this time of year, we’re here to help you tackle those projects but first you have to help yourself by picking up the phone and calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, another thing that winter means is that those furry critters may be looking for a home. You know, the little ones? The mice …
TOM: … may be looking to get out of the chilly weather and head on into your house. We’re going to give you some tricks of the trade to try to keep your house mouse-free, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Yeah. Boy, doesn’t your house look inviting to all those little creatures at this time of year. And also ahead, tips to avoid scares of a different type: slippery sidewalks and dark front porches. Those hazards all add up to a very unsafe Halloween. Coming up, we’ve got your tips on Halloween and trick-or-treat safety.
TOM: And while we’re talking about safety for kids, we’ve also got a few ideas for inside your home to help avoid accidents. You know, kids, bumps and bruises – they all sort of go together but there are things that you can do to eliminate some of the really dangerous spaces in your house and we’re going to tell you exactly what to do.
LESLIE: And we want to tell you about the My Home, My Money Pit Adventure Game and Sweepstakes. It’s going on – only a couple weeks left – and the grand prize is $5,000. We’re also giving away 200 other prizes. All you have to do is go to MoneyPit.com and play the game and then you get to enter the contest.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Neil in New York is about to have the party house. (Tom laughs) You’re building a bar, huh?
NEIL: Yeah, it’s about time. I mean, twenty-one years in the house (Tom chuckles) and I finally have my dream bar. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: You’re finally old enough to drink, huh, Neil?
NEIL: I’m old enough to drink a long time. (Tom laughs) A long time. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: How can we help you?
NEIL: My wife and I have been having conversations on how do I finish the top of the bar. She’s concerned, you know. My wife’s very neat and she likes everything nice and she doesn’t want me to scratch it or – you know …
TOM: What did you make the bar out of, Neil?
NEIL: It’s plywood.
NEIL: It’s plywood. I did all of the wood. The entire basin and the shelves and everything is finished. I’m about to finish the top and what I did was I went and I bought a three-quarter, you know, 4×8 plywood sheet. It’s a red veneer oak.
TOM: Oh, nice. Mm-hmm.
NEIL: Yeah, so I’m just about – I was going – I was going to cut it tomorrow night when I got home from work and I was going to just give it, you know, five coats of the Minwax polyurethane – sanding in between coats. I figured four or five coats because when I did – I used birch on the bottom of the bar and I stained it red mahogany and then did three coats of the polyurethane – the clear polyurethane, with sanding in between …
NEIL: … and it’s like glass.
TOM: Yeah. Let me give you one more suggestion for the top.
NEIL: Yes, sir.
TOM: Use a sanding sealer first.
NEIL: A sanding sealer? Yeah, my nephew uses that, right.
TOM: Yeah, put a sanding sealer on it and then …
TOM: … sand it for the first time because what happens, if you put a sanding sealer on it, it seals in the grain and it kind of raises it a little bit and it gets a little rough.
TOM: And then you sand it down and this way, when you put the coat of polyurethane on it after that …
LESLIE: It really grabs it.
TOM: Well, not only does it grab it but it doesn’t bring those little fibers of the wood up, so you don’t have to sand nearly as much.
NEIL: Fantabulous. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Micki in South Carolina is having a flooring situation. What’s going on?
MICKI: Yes. Hi. Thanks for taking my call. I have a problem with the carpeting in several of my bedrooms, mostly on the outside walls where the car – where the carpet meets up with the molding.
MICKI: There is a black substance of some kind that is along that perimeter and sometimes in different areas, it’ll come into the carpet just about two, three inches.
MICKI: I have had this cleaned prior but it keeps coming back and I don’t know whether there’s an air gap – that air is coming in – or whether it’s a problem with mold.
TOM: I suspect, Micki, that it’s not a problem with mold; I suspect what you’re seeing is dirt and it’s being deposited there because of the forces of convection. You have a cold exterior wall. You may have some windows about that. What happens is the warm air in your house strikes that cold wall and then as it’s chilled, it falls and it tends to repeat that convective loop. And as it does so, it takes any dirt that’s in the air and deposits it on the wall, very frequently, right above the carpet or right above the baseboard molding.
What I would suggest you do is two things: first of all, a very good carpet cleaning – maybe shampoo the carpets – and secondly, I would look to the air filter system that you have inside your house. Do you have a forced-air heating system? You have ducts?
MICKI: We have that.
TOM: You have ducts? OK.
MICKI: We do. We have ducts. We have gas.
TOM: OK, what you should probably have on that system is an electronic air cleaner. They are very, very efficient and far more efficient than the fiberglass filters and you will see a big difference in the amount of dirt and debris and dust that gets in the air of your house.
MICKI: OK. Is there anyone that can come in and check the air to make sure that, you know, there’s not a problem with my air?
TOM: Well, an HVAC contractor can do that and I would definitely think about installing, though, a better air cleaner because most HVAC systems just have fiberglass filters.
TOM: You put an electronic air cleaner and a really good-quality one – like Aprilaire makes a good one that was ranked tops by Consumer Reports for many years – and that’s going to make a big difference in the air quality in your house.
MICKI: OK. Well, thanks for that help and I will definitely look into that and see what I can do about it.
TOM: Good luck, Micki. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Fall is here and we want to help keep you warm and keep those energy dollars in your pockets. So pick up the phone and give us a call and let us help you with all your fall repairs – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, would you like to keep those furry little critters out of your house this winter? We’re talking about the mice. We’re going to tell you how to do just that, 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: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And you should pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, because one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a fall cleanup prize pack from our friends over at Ames True Temper. It is the perfect time of year to win this prize.
You are going to get three different rakes designed for different kinds of raking chores, including a shrub rake and all different kinds of things. It’s really very helpful as those leaves start to fall from your trees around your yard. It’s a prize worth nearly 50 bucks, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now.
TOM: And remember, you must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us. That question might be: how do I stop rodents from joining me for the long, cold winter ahead inside my house?
There is a way to make your home a less welcoming place for rodents that might want to winter there. First, you want to avoid creating nesting sites at the foundation perimeter. So, we’re talking about getting rid of those stacks of newspapers, cardboard boxes, firewood – both at the outside of your house and in places like your garage because those do create very welcoming, warm havens for the mice to exist.
And remember, mice can squeeze into really tiny spaces. They need a space like something less than a nickel so seal up any potential entrances. If you have any holes in the foundation, any holes in the siding – you can stick a little steel wool in there or cover the entrance with sheet metal or simply cement it shut. Look for all those little tiny holes because those are the places that the rodents like to slip right in and slither into your house.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also inside your house, make sure that you store any loose, dry food – especially pet food. They love pet food.
TOM: Yeah, don’t feed them. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Don’t leave it out overnight. You know, I swear, we kept our food – Daisy’s food out one night and – you know, for a while, we were doing it – and there was like a week straight where Daisy was eating all of her food and I was like, ‘Wow, Daisy is a hungry little toy poodle.’ And then I pulled out the stove to do some cleaning and maintenance and vacuuming and saw all of Daisy’s food back there. So the mice love pet food.
Store all of their dry food in sealed containers. Same thing with pasta and cereals; store them in sealed containers. And keep a clean house; I know it sounds obvious but pick up crumbs and wash your dishes right after you eat and keep the insides of your pantries and cabinets clean. If you go and follow these steps, you should keep those rodents away from your house this winter. Send them over to the neighbors. You don’t want them.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Skip in Ohio, tell us about your project.
SKIP: Well, I’m looking at putting some epoxy floor covering or coating down on my garage and/or workshop and so my curiosity is, what advice would you give?
LESLIE: Well, the QUIKRETE one, which you can also get at the home centers, is two parts. You actually mix the epoxy into the paint portion and then, you know, some of them even have a cleanser step that’s first to sort of scuff up the floor and get rid of any dirt and debris and any oils that might hinder the adhesion process.
The QUIKRETE one is excellent. Rust-Oleum makes one; I think Behr even has one. But the QUIKRETE one is my favorite; they come in some excellent color choices. You can mix in the speckle finish. As long as you don’t paint yourself into a corner, you shouldn’t have any other problems (Tom chuckles) and they do tend to be very, very durable.
SKIP: Very good. I appreciate it. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Skip. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Caroline in Pennsylvania is looking to build a deck. What can we do for you today?
CAROLINE: Yeah, hi. We have an old house. It’s an old, brick house and we want to put a deck on the back of it and we’re shopping around for decking materials and there are these composites, there’s wood. You know, we’d like to make it as carefree and maintenance-free as possible since we have so much other work to do on this 100-year-old home.
And after looking at some of the material, we are just at a loss of what – where to start and what kind of material to build with. And we’re not particular about color and so, that’s what we also – we need help with. We need a little bit of help with what to make our deck out of.
TOM: Well, you’re stuck in analysis-paralysis. (Leslie chuckles) You’ve got too many decisions here, so let’s make it easier for you. First of all, composite is definitely the way to go today. Composites …
LESLIE: Especially for low maintenance.
TOM: Composites would be used on the deck surface and the railing. The structure would still be built out of pressure-treated lumber. Now Leslie, you just completed a composite deck with fiberon; that’s great stuff.
LESLIE: We did. We used fiberon decking materials for the top. We just resurfaced our existing deck. You know, we made sure that everything underneath that was made out of pressure-treated lumber was still in good shape and then just put the new fiberon on top. It looks gorgeous. It comes in two sort of price points. They both look fantastic. You can really see that there is beautiful graining, so it looks like real wood. You will never have to paint it. You will never have to sand it or stain it.
If you go with wood, every two years you’re going to be putting something on it – refinishing, sanding something down. I mean, there is just a lot of maintenance with a wood deck and that’s OK, because some people really like that look and want that and are committed to the upkeep. But if you’re like me and you feel a little lazy and you just want to enjoy the deck and you don’t really want to do a lot of work, a composite is fantastic. They just need a little bit of cleaning every season, just to get the yuck off that’s been on it for the winter. Fiberon is a great one; check them out.
TOM: I’ve never seen …
TOM: … a product that looks more like natural wood.
LESLIE: It’s gorgeous.
TOM: Their website is FiberonDecking.com – F-i-b-e-r-o-n – Decking.com.
CAROLINE: Got it.
LESLIE: We went with the Tropics line, in the mahogany. It’s beautiful.
CAROLINE: Oh, mahogany sounds great because we have – our house is an old, red, clay, brick house and that sounds like that’ll match it pretty nicely. Thank you so much. I had one other question and it slipped my mind. Oh! (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
The one thing that I was concerned about – the wear on the stuff. Is it kind of like a – yeah, like how fiberglass kind of chips away and the fiber starts coming up like on an old boat or whatever?
TOM: This is tough stuff. You should have no concerns about the wear and tear. It’s really very, very durable. It’s the perfect choice for your house.
CAROLINE: Thank you so much.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome.
CAROLINE: (overlapping voices) You have a great day.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And you know what? We stupidly resurfaced the deck and then went and had the house painted.
LESLIE: And of course, the painter was not as tidy as we had hoped they might be and there were footprints and paint all over the place and with a little bit of elbow grease, my husband and I were able to, you know, just scrub with some soapy water and use our fingernails, a little bit of steel wool and got all that paint off. And there is no damage to the deck.
TOM: That’s fantastic.
LESLIE: Taking a call from Utah with Larry, who’s having something going on in the basement. What’s happening?
LARRY: Hi, you guys. I love your show.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks, Larry.
LARRY: I remodeled about a sixty-year-old house and I did the drywall and everything, finished the basement and then I started getting musty smells, especially like in the fall and winter …
LARRY: … or in the spring, when it’s wet. So I was wondering if you recommend some kind of spray insulation or something to go behind the wall?
TOM: Well, the basement is already finished, Larry?
LARRY: Yeah, it is.
TOM: And how did you finish it? Did you put up a frame wall and put drywall over that?
LARRY: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
TOM: OK. Well, it’s a little bit too late to do anything to those walls at this moment. Had you called us before that, we’d have told you not to use drywall – to use a product that’s actually not paper-faced. There’s a fiberglass-faced type of drywall that’s less resistant to mold but now that you’re in this particular situation, we want to try to get the humidity down in the basement as much as possible.
Do you have a forced-air heating system?
LARRY: Yeah, I do.
TOM: And does it also heat the basement?
TOM: Excellent. The best thing for you to do is to install a whole-home dehumidifier. This …
LESLIE: Yeah. You’re not going to have to dump water out with this thing.
TOM: This will be installed into the HVAC system and it will dehumidify the entire house and keep the humidity just perfect in that basement space. If you can manage the humidity, you’re going to manage that odor and that musty, damp smell and that’s going to reduce the risk of a mold problem developing.
LARRY: OK. Well, thank you so much, you guys. Once again, I love your show.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Larry. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JOHN: Yeah, I’ve had my septic system – it’s a 30-year old house. It’s been inspected twice and everything’s fine, they tell me. But sometimes in extremely cold weather, I can smell like an odor and it says – I told the septic people that and they said it’s from the vent stack.
JOHN: I don’t know if you ever heard of anything like that.
TOM: Well, depending on the design of your roof, I’ve heard of winds in certain conditions sort of taking that sewage gas smell and pushing it down closer to the ground where you can actually smell it.
TOM: And if that’s what’s happening and it’s seasonal and it happens in odd weather conditions, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
JOHN: Yeah, because what happens is, like if there’s snow – like up here where I live in Albany, New York area, there’s a lot of snow and if there’s any snow on the roof, all around the vent stack it’s completely melted, you know, during the winter.
JOHN: So I guess it’s – I guess it’s the gas that’s being pushed out.
TOM: That’s probably what’s happening and it doesn’t indicate that you need to make any repairs.
TOM: Just don’t invite your friends over on those cold days, OK? (Leslie chuckles)
JOHN: I know, tell me about it. (John and Tom chuckle) OK, I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, if you want treats but no tricks this Halloween, make sure you keep your home kid-friendly for your neighborhood ghosts and goblins. We’re going to give you some Halloween safety tips, next.
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: If your last home improvement project got you a starring role in the fire department’s newest training video, (Leslie chuckles) you are tuned to the right place because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where home safety comes first. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And if you find that you listen to The Money Pit just to see if you can answer the home improvement questions that we get asked …
TOM: And then like yell at us when you don’t agree with the answer. (Leslie chuckles)
LESLIE: … well, now you can test your home improvement knowledge and maybe win 5,000 bucks for your next home improvement project at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: That’s right. The My Home, My Money Pit Home Improvement Adventure Game and Sweepstakes going on right now – and actually concluding at the end of this month at MoneyPit.com – has been getting lots and lots of attention. So go there; check out the sweepstakes game.
You get to actually test your home improvement knowledge. Answer a few trivia questions and if you get them right, you can enter and perhaps win 5,000 bucks and over 200 other prizes available; online, right now at MoneyPit.com.
And also going on right now, lots of excitement for the kiddies out there as we get ready for Halloween. It’s a good idea, though, to take some steps to keep those kids safe around your house by having well-lit walkways and front porches. Also, don’t use candles inside your pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns; try flashlights or glow sticks instead. They work just as well; in fact, I think they actually work better.
LESLIE: Yeah, they really do and then you don’t have to worry about the candles blowing out if it’s a breezy Halloween evening. And if you’re going to be out with your trick-or-treaters and even if you’re not, make sure that the kids’ costumes allow for proper vision, they can breathe easily and they’re not super-long where everybody’s going to go tripping all over themselves.
And also, I know everybody wants to be a ninja or a skeleton. Whatever it is, make sure that the costumes aren’t too dark because you want to make sure that your kids are easily seen by passing cars. If they insist on wearing a dark costume, just tape glow sticks all over them so they’re easy to see.
And also, when they get home with their giant bag of candy – before everybody dives in, look at every piece and make sure that it’s safe and wrapped well. You know, my grandma always used to say, ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’ If something looks weird, just chuck it; don’t chance it.
TOM: Good advice. 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Gwen in Hawaii has got some noisy neighbors. Hopefully, we can help this situation quiet down. Welcome.
GWEN: Well, I live in a condominium.
GWEN: I’m on the second floor …
GWEN: … and I want to put in laminate flooring but I need to find a good soundproofing to go underneath the laminate flooring, that will protect the homeowners downstairs.
LESLIE: Oh, so you’re the noisy neighbor, (Tom chuckles) potentially. (Gwen laughs)
GWEN: No, not yet. (Gwen and Leslie laugh)
TOM: Alright. Well, what you want is a sound-engineered plywood. There are special plywoods that are designed to reduce the transfer of sound and they’re pretty expensive; you’re not going to be able to find them in your average homes and you’re probably going to have to order them but they do exactly what you need to be done. It’s a plywood sub-flooring that’s designed to suppress sound.
In fact, one of the major manufacturers is called Supress – S-u-p-r-e-s-s; their website is SupressProducts.com. And you can request information and hopefully find a local dealer for that product. But that’s what you want underneath the laminate floor and that will make your downstairs neighbors all that more happy.
GWEN: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gwen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Greg in Missouri is having a situation with mold in the bathroom. How can we help you?
GREG: Yeah. I’ve got an older home with a crawlspace under it.
GREG: And I keep putting down new linoleum in the bathrooms and the linoleum grays at the edge.
GREG: And I’ve talked to several people and they suggested a vapor barrier under the home and I was just curious as to which way to go to create a vapor barrier. Some people say tar paper and then white rock on top. Some people say plastic and white rock; some people say foamboard.
TOM: Now, what you want – what you want here, Greg, is you want to use plastic and you want to use as wide a sheet as possible. You want to go all the way from edge to edge of the foundation. If you can, turn that up the inside foundation wall by about a foot and try to get it to seal against the wall. You could use caulking or you could use like an asphalt roof cement so you have a real tight seal against the wall.
When it comes to overlapping the sheets of plastic, I would overlap them a good two or three feet. You know, plastic is pretty cheap so you don’t have to worry about using a little more or a little less. And the other thing, though, is to look at the overall reasons that the moisture is getting into the crawlspace and for that, what I would do is look at the grading at the outside of the foundation; making sure the soil slopes away from your walls.
And also, don’t forget to check your gutters. You want to make sure that they’re clear and free-flowing so that that water from the roof edge …
TOM: … is not depositing right at the foundation perimeter. All of those things together will help you reduce the volume of moisture that’s getting in the crawlspace and then the amount of that that can evaporate up into the house.
LESLIE: And you know, Greg, one more thing that you can do, now that you’ve managed everything outside and really controlled that moisture, you want to install a bathroom vent fan into that bath as well. This way, whatever moisture you’re generating inside the bathroom can be brought outside.
You want to make sure it’s properly vented to the outdoors and if you can, have an occupancy sensor installed; it’ll just make it simple to use. It’ll come on when you’re in there and go off when you’re out. This way, you don’t have to worry about a family member who might forget to put it on; not to name any names.
GREG: OK. That makes sense. I thank you much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and as a new parent, I am quickly finding out that only a rubber room can keep our kids completely safe at home. And since we’re pretty sure that you don’t have one of those – and I’m not putting one in my house – we’re going to have a few ideas to help kid-proof the most dangerous areas of your home, so stick around.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, one of which might be: how do I deal with hard water in my house, Tom and Leslie? Are your faucets collecting that telltale mineral deposit? Well, there is an easy way to get rid of hard water deposits, once and for all. It’s a new system called EasyWater; it’s a softening system that uses an electronic pulse to basically prevent the minerals from collecting in your pipes and appliances.
We’ve had one on at our shore house now for several months and it’s doing a great job. And the best news is, you could actually win one of the EasyWater systems by playing the My Home, My Money Pit Home Improvement Adventure Game and Sweepstakes, going on right now at MoneyPit.com and sponsored by Rinnai.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. We’re giving away five of those water softening systems plus two Lifetime sheds, a Lifetime utility trailer, a hundred sets of wall-hanging hardware from our friends over at Monkey Hook and dozens of Money Pit t-shirts, hats and tote bags. We’ve got over 200 prizes in all, including – did I mention the big mamma-jamma, the grand prize – 5,000 buckeroos?
All that you need to do is go to MoneyPit.com. You play a game. It’s quick; it’s really fun. There are true-and-false questions and then once you answer five of them right, you get to enter the sweepstakes for your chance to win. Hey and make sure – now that I’ve got you all excited and you want to run over to the computer to enter right now – just don’t knock each other down and start tripping and falling on your way to get in on it.
TOM: Hey, speaking of accidents, you know you can’t prevent every accident at home; especially if your kids are anything like mine. But taking a few minutes now to check your house for indoor hazards can definitely save a trip to the doctor or worse.
For example, glass doors, like the outside sliders or storm doors, are an invitation for trouble. Kids often forget the door is there and walk or run right into it. And if the glass breaks, well, obviously, serious injury could result. So here’s a little trick: apply decorative details at the child’s eye level as a reminder that those doors are closed.
Also, make sure your glass is, of course, made of safety glass which won’t shatter and if you want to check, that’s usually stamped on the glass near a corner.
LESLIE: Also, you want to make sure that any railing in your home is at least 36 inches tall and has no more than six-inch spacings between any of those spindles. While it’s legal for most buildings, the six-inch space is still too wide for a really small child who could squeeze through that railing and fall. And if you’ve got a small toddler, pick up some childproof netting and install it temporarily on the inside of the balcony, to prevent little bodies from slipping through.
The netting – it can be easily removed when your kids get older. It’s not going to damage the railing and you don’t need to worry about your little ones slipping and falling through them.
TOM: Need more safety ideas? Check out the next edition of The Money Pit e-newsletter. It’s free and it comes to your inbox every week. Sign up now at MoneyPit.com. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Pamela has got a painting question; actually, a painting – about a non-paintable surface. What’s going on?
PAMELA: Actually, we picked up the wrong tube of caulking when I was caulking my shower and I put 100-percent silicone caulk that is non-paintable and now I need to paint the wall and, of course, nothing is sticking to it. Is there anything that you can wipe that with that would make paint adhere to it?
TOM: No, you’re not going to make the paint adhere to the silicone but what you could do is replace that silicone. You want to use a product called a caulk softener and it’s available from a number of different manufacturers and basically it’ll make that caulk easy to take off. It works on acrylic, it works on butyl, it works on silicone. You’re going to want to scrape out that old silicone caulk and then replace it with a latex caulk that’s paintable.
TOM: That’s the best way to handle the situation.
LESLIE: Because you’re never going to get paint to stick to it otherwise.
TOM: Pamela, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now, we’re going to help Daniel in Georgia with a roofing situation. What’s going on at your money pit?
DANIEL: Oh, I’ve got a question about roofing. I’m going to want to redo my roof here in the next year or so; shingles are starting to get brittle and I’m interested in the metal roof and wondering – do I have to strip all the old shingles and tar paper off before I put the metal roof on and then also, generally, what do you feel about the metal roofs? Are they as good or better than or not quite as good as regular shingles?
TOM: Well, they’re far better than regular shingles.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) They’re great.
TOM: They’re also far more expensive. It’s a …
LESLIE: And far more durable. They’re going to last …
LESLIE: … a lot longer.
LESLIE: So that balances the cost out.
TOM: And the painting on metal roof today has the added ability of being able to reflect some of the heat back out of the house, too. They’ve got new paint coatings now so I think it’s a good product.
TOM: In terms of whether or not you remove those shingles, you don’t have to but …
LESLIE: Well, that’s why the metal roof is such like an eco-friendly product, because you don’t have to get rid of all of that stuff to the landfills.
TOM: Right. But now that I said that, I would tell you that if it was my house, I probably would and the reason is I don’t want to have all those old shingles under the roof. I don’t want to have to deal with the edge, where the shingle overhangs the fascia …
TOM: … and then have the metal lip right above that. I just don’t like the idea of having, you know, three-quarters of an inch to an inch-and-a-half of shingle mound under there. I would personally rather take it all off but in terms of the manufacturer, they absolutely say you don’t have to do that; so it’s totally up to you.
DANIEL: Oh, OK. I see. That helps out a lot. I’ll have to try to balance the man hours and the elbow grease that I’d have to put in to strip all the shingles off and that type of stuff.
LESLIE: And the cost, possibly, to dispose of them.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a good website for the Metal Roofing Association, which has got good information on this. I think it’s MetalRoofing.com.
DANIEL: OK. Well, I’ll take a look at that and I appreciate all the information.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, we’ve had lots of great calls this hour but up next we’re going to reach into our e-mail bag and answer a question from Bob in Texas. Now, Bob has been following our advice, faithfully – thank you, Bob – and he has insulated his home and gotten energy-efficient replacement windows.
TOM: Oh, yes, Bob is a man on a mission and now he wants to know if a radiant barrier in his attic will help that insulation be even more efficient. We’ll sort that out, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Owens Corning. It’s easy to insulate your home and save money. What’s stopping you? Learn more at InsulateAndSave.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, you got an extra half hour in your day? Take a nap. (Leslie chuckles) Another half hour? Tackle one of the top ten maintenance projects around your house that could be completed in 30 minutes or less. You can get the entire list in my current AOL column, online right now at MoneyPit.AOL.com.
LESLIE: And while you’re online, head over to MoneyPit.com and e-mail us a question, like Bob did in Sealy, Texas who writes: ‘I recently purchased a 29-year-old home in the country and both my wife and I love it very much. However, the home seems to lack a lot of energy-saving qualities. We replaced the aluminum windows with double-paned windows filled with argon gas …
LESLIE: … and we put 12 inches of cellulose insulation in the attic. These two accomplishments have helped tremendously. We’re now thinking of having the underdeck of the roof sprayed with a radiant barrier. Is this a worthwhile expense?’
TOM: In Texas, it definitely is. It’s going to lower your cooling cost. You know, you can either have it sprayed-on or you could use one of the sheet product; but basically, what that radiant barrier does, Bob, is it reflects the heat sort of back out to whence it came so it keeps the attic cooler and, hence, makes the entire home less expensive to cool.
So it’s a good idea and congratulations on making all those energy saving improvements. It’s definitely going to reduce your expenses.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got one here from Roberta who writes: ‘How can my husband and I make our masonry fireplace more heat-efficient?’
TOM: Fill it up with concrete. (Leslie and Tom laugh)
LESLIE: Fill it in. Don’t use it.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah, you know, masonry fireplaces just aren’t heat-efficient. However, the best thing that you could do might be to use an insert in that because that will make it – convert it to, essentially, a wood stove which can be far more heat efficient; mostly because you can control the air that – the intake air that goes into it and some of the more modern ones have ways that you can actually pull that combustion air from the outside.
The key here is to not take air from inside the house …
TOM: … and exhaust it right up and out. So if you can pull the combustion …
LESLIE: Which basically is what’s happening with the fireplace.
TOM: Yeah. If you can pull – and a lot of it too. If you can pull the combustion air from outside the house with a wood stove insert, then it’s going to be far more efficient.
LESLIE: Alright. Mike in Lansing, Michigan writes: ‘I have a wooden shed that’s in dire need of a paint job. What is the best way to do this and make it last as long as possible?’ Prep, prep, prep.
TOM: Yeah. Key would be, Mike, to get that as dry as possible; really choose the driest day. Now, you’re right, Leslie; you want to make sure you prep it very, very carefully. I would suggest you go over that with a pressure washer. Perhaps you’re going to want to use a siding wash on top of that to make sure you get off any of the mildew …
TOM: … that can be attached to that; get it as clean as possible.
LESLIE: Yeah and get any chipping wood off as well.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. And after you’ve got all the mildew off, I would set about repairing any rotted wood at that time; making sure that you – if you have some really rotted spots, you can kind of scrape it out and patch it with wood filler; kind of the same way you might think of like filling any kind of cavity.
And after that, it’s time for priming and it’s going to be real critical that you wait until a super-dry day; let the shed get really, really dried out.
LESLIE: You want several dry days, actually.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely, before you prime that shed. Primer – probably best primer on an outdoor shed might be an oil-based Behr; an oil-based Kilz product; that will do a really good job. And then after that, good and dry? Go ahead and put your top coat on. It’s OK for that to be latex and you’re going to probably need at least two coats of that.
Make sure you get all the places that water seeps in as well, Mike; especially inside those nooks and crannies of the windows and the doors and on the underside of sort of the hinge side of the door. You want to crack that door open to get it nice and saturated so that all of those open areas are sealed up and that shed should last you a long time; probably another five to ten years.
LESLIE: And you know, Mike, if that wood shed is really in bad shape and there is no repairing it, well then why don’t you enter our Money Pit game – which is our Money Pit Adventure Sweepstakes going on right now – because we are giving away some sheds from our friends over at Lifetime and it sounds like you could really use one.
TOM: Good point. 888-666-3974. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online right now at MoneyPit.com. 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 2008 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)