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 questions. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We’re here to take your how-to and especially your how-to-not-to do-it-yourself home improvement questions at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got a great show coming up this hour.
First up, taking the pain out of doing dishes and other chores. Is all that bending and reaching down for your dishwasher taking a toll on your back? Well it doesn’t have to. We’re going to deliver some kitchen design tips to save that aching back in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also this hour, is a roof redo in your future? Well, we’ve got the inside info on roofing material that’s super easy, very energy efficient, beautiful and long-lasting. And guess what? It’s metal. And it’s not your grandfather’s metal roof, either. We’re going to tell you about a new generation of high-tech, modern, metal roofs that are going to last forever and cut energy bills at the same time.
TOM: And we are very pleased, proud and privileged to have, standing by on our guest line this hour, Mr. Thomas Van Essen. If that name is familiar to you it should be. This is New York City’s former fire commissioner that led us through the 9/11 invasion, saved a lot of lives and he’s coming on the program this hour to give us some tips on how you can be safer in your own home.
LESLIE: And also this hour, you know we here at The Money Pit love prize giveaways so you got to give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we might just choose you to win a 4-in-1 ratcheting wrench from GearWrench. It’s worth 30 bucks. It’s a great hand-held tool to add to your toolbox and it could be yours for free.
TOM: The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Jennifer in Tennessee, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JENNIFER: Hi. I was hoping to find out the best way to start my home improvement project. Like I’m sort of in the planning phase but I’m not really sure where to start; like if there’s a good book or good software that’ll help me kind of lay everything out and plan.
TOM: Well, you started at the right place by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. What kinds of home improvement projects do you want to do, Jennifer?
JENNIFER: Well, I’m really interested in replacing my deck …
JENNIFER: … and maybe remodeling my bathroom.
TOM: Well, a couple of things come to mind. First of all, if you’re going to do the deck, now that’s an easy project and there are a lot of sources for home improvement education. I think a good place for you to start would be at one of the major home centers because I know that they have classes on deck construction that only take a day and give you lots of tips. I’ve seen them at Lowe’s, I’ve seen them at Depot and Leslie and I have even taught a few at some of these stores over the years. So picking up a course like that is a great place familiar with the tools and the design and especially when it comes to the deck because layout is really critical.
TOM: You need to get the design right so you get all the materials and get the assembly in the right order. So that’s a great place to start.
LESLIE: And well I also think, Jennifer, you know, head to your local library or bookstore; anyplace where you can find magazines because so many of the publishers offer special interest publications and some of those are specifically all about decks, deck design, outdoor landscaping. So if you start with some paper and just sort of peel through, make copies of things that interest you, tear those pages out and hold on to them; this way when you’re ready to go into the design and construction phase, you can approach your contractor or if you’re building it yourself you’ve got an understanding of how you want it to work and if you work with a contractor they’ll understand coding needs as far as step height, how high you can go without a railing. Because there’s a ton of intricacies that make for the safety of the deck as well.
TOM: And Jennifer, speaking of contractors, there are design experts out there. They’re called certified kitchen and bath designers. This is a designation that the Kitchen and Bath Industry Association offers. These folks have to be tested and certified to prove that they have the right kind of design training and using somebody like that can really save you a lot of aggravation as well as a boatload of money when it comes to designing a bathroom. You mentioned that as one of the projects you wanted to tackle. So you might want to think about meeting with a bath designer to get some initial help on the layout and maybe some advice on product selection. Because you know, just a few careful suggestions from somebody like that can really save you a bunch of money.
JENNIFER: Yeah, and I was wondering if – you know, along those same lines – is there software available where I could kind of play around with my dimensions to see like, you know, where the sink would look best or – you know, if I wanted to maybe consider rearranging some things in the bathroom?
LESLIE: Well, again, I think when you’re especially thinking about rearranging things in the bath, number one, that’s going to drive your costs way up; especially if you’ve got to move plumbing fixtures and if you work with a certified bath designer they’re going to know perhaps shortcuts or better locations based on where your plumbing exists. And I think the best part about working with a design pro in this situation is that they’re able to get product directly from the manufacturer which comes in then at a discounted rate and then there’s a slight markup for working with the designer. But you might be able to get better than retail prices when it comes to specific materials.
As far as design software, there’s a ton of different programs available for both Macs and PCs at varying levels. But you do have to purchase the software itself and that can sometimes run up to several hundred dollars. So it might just – you know, take some time, walk in to a home center and sit down with one of their bath designers to just get a start.
TOM: Jennifer, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JENNIFER: Thanks. Bye.
LESLIE: Mark in Virginia’s got driveways on the mind. What can we help you with?
MARK: I was just wondering the difference between asphalt and concrete as far as longevity and cost and resale value and that type of question because I’m thinking about getting my driveway done and I just wanted to know what y’all thought would be more worthwhile.
TOM: Well, I think a concrete driveway’s going to be the nicest. It’ll last the longest.
In terms of return on investment, I don’t think there’s going to be much difference between that and asphalt. I don’t think the driveway material is something that a potential buyer is going to assign any more value to when it comes to buying your house. It’s not like – I mean there are certain building products that do give you a better return on investment like adding a deck. But in terms of the driveway, whether it’s asphalt or concrete, I don’t think that’s going to impact the sale value.
If you’re going to be there for, you know, a long, long time you want a driveway that’s really going to hold up a good 20 years. I’d probably go concrete. If you don’t mind sealing it every few years and you want to save a few dollars I’d go asphalt.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you will have to reseal it every few years.
TOM: If you want something that’s going to look really good you could go pavers, too. That’s another option.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Pavers are gorgeous. But they’re going to be more pricey than any of the other options and far more laborious as far as the install.
MARK: Thanks a lot.
Up next, tired of the achy back that happens when you’re washing dishes all the time in your kitchen? Well, a simple move of that dishwasher that will only shift it about eight inches can actually make it a lot less stressful to use. We’ll fill in the details, 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, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Don’t look now but your home improvement projects just got easier. All you’ve got to do is pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Whatever your home improvement question is we’re here to help you get the job done. Now, if that question is how to glue back together a $2,000 piece of marble that you just miscut …
LESLIE: Ooh. (chuckling)
TOM: … probably can’t help you. But for everything else, call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because if you do, we’re going to toss your name in the Money Pit hardhat to win this hour’s prize which is a 4-in-1 QuadBox ratcheting wrench from GearWrench. It’s worth 30 bucks and it could be yours for free.
LESLIE: Alright. Well earlier, before the break, we were talking about kitchen chores. You know, kitchen work can be a big ache on your back and all sorts of body parts because you’re bending down a lot. And if you want to save your back, especially when you’re doing the dishes, it’s really quite simple. Just raise your dishwasher eight inches off the floor and you’re going to feel like you’ve cut your dish chores in half. You’re not going to have to bend and stoop so much and it really will make all the difference in the world.
And while you’re at it, leave a space next to the dishwasher where you can pull up a chair. Then an older relative can sit down to load and unload the dishes or a family member who uses a wheelchair is going to be able to help out and really feel like a part of the chores.
If you want some more ideas you can visit AARP.org/HomeDesign. There’s tons there and it’s a great website.
TOM: Or pick up the phone right now and call us with your home design question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: John in New Jersey’s got something going on with the deck. What happened? Tell us about it?
JOHN: OK, I used a name brand deck finisher.
JOHN: Did it according to the directions. You know, how you powerwash it; do the whole thing? You prepare it properly. You put it on. After you put it on it dried. It was very tacky. So I called the manufacturer. They said, ‘Well, use mineral spirits to get the rest off and the reason why it’s tacky is because only so much can be absorbed into the wood.’ Well after you do it with the mineral spirits it looks like a checkerboard. And so when I called them back they said, ‘Well, the best thing to do then is to strip it and start from square one.’
LESLIE: And they wanted you to send them the bill?
JOHN: Yeah sure, right. (Tom and Leslie laugh) I asked if they were going to send me the help to do it. My question is if I do the stripper what do I do to the wood?
LESLIE: Well, are you looking for – you know, at this …
JOHN: I want to go back to square one because I’m very disappointed with the product.
LESLIE: So you want just a natural-looking, sealed wood deck that maybe has got like a clear stain on it that’s resistant to moisture and sun damage and all that.
JOHN: That’s correct.
LESLIE: Well, once you get it down to the raw surface – and you’ve got to use a chemical stripping agent because just a power washer and a scraper is not going to do the trick.
LESLIE: Use a stripping product. You know, if you’ve got tricky areas, reapply it, you know, after you do your first coating. But if you let the product do its job, you will see that, you know, you’ll get almost all of that off on the first try. So let it sit there 20, 30 minutes; whatever the manufacturer says. Then let that deck dry and the autumn is the perfect time because you’re dealing with less humid days; you’re going to find that wood’s going to dry out, you know, if you’ve got no rain in three or four days.
And then you can go ahead and apply any sort of stain. I think the Flood Company really has the best products on the market and if you go with – depending on the condition of the wood, you can go with something that’s like just their clear wood finish which offers ultraviolet protection but gives you a natural look. It’s almost like a clear coat and lets the true beauty of the wood shine through.
LESLIE: If you find that you want something – you know, maybe the deck’s not in the best condition and you need to help disguise that a little bit, you can go with a semi-transparent stain, also from Flood. That just puts a hint of color on; lets you still see the graining and you can go from, you know, natural tones to outrageous blues, depending on what you like. And if you find the deck’s in terrible shape and you just don’t want to see so much of the integrity of the wood itself, a solid stain is sort of your last step before replacement or some people just like that look of, you know, a heavily saturated color, which is what you get from a solid stain. But it doesn’t sit on the surface like a paint does. It penetrates into the wood itself to really stick and if you follow the manufacturer’s directions you’re going to get three to five years on a horizontal surface like decking.
JOHN: Excellent. One last question.
JOHN: When you’re stripping, does it have any effect on the wood? (INAUDIBLE)
TOM: No. No. No, it won’t affect the structural …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. The pressure washing might.
TOM: Yeah, it won’t affect the structural integrity of the wood. If you use a pressure washer and you use too much pressure you’re going to wear away some of the surface; some of the soft summer growth and you’ll see more of the rings of the tree in the wood but it won’t affect the structure.
JOHN: OK, now does that affect concrete? Sodium hydroxide?
LESLIE: No, but you have to make sure that if you’ve got any landscaping around the property …
LESLIE: … that you cover it up and make sure you wear protective gear, you know, on your hands and your eyes because you don’t want it to accidentally burn your skin.
JOHN: Alright, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to help Irene in Rhode Island remodel her livingroom. Tell us what’s going on.
IRENE: Love your program.
TOM: Thank you.
IRENE: And I just have – I’m sure for you it’s going to be a very small problem. I’m about to do my livingroom and I’m just a little concerned about the sequence of it. My painter seems to think that she’d like to do the painting first and I have – I’m going to lift the carpet and redo – refinish my hardwood floor.
IRENE: And I’m not too sure whether I would want it painted before I do the floor.
LESLIE: Well, Irene, first of all I love that you said ‘My painter, she wants to do the painting first.’
LESLIE: I think that’s excellent that you’ve got a lady working in the house. (Irene chuckles) But she is absolutely right because if you’ve got carpeting on your floor surface right now and what’s underneath is the hardwood that you’re going to refinish …
LESLIE: … why not use that built-in drop cloth?
TOM: The last bit of service that your rug is going – your carpet’s going to render you is to serve as the drop cloth for your painting project, Irene.
IRENE: Well, you know what? I was going to reuse the carpeting. It’s not really that bad. (chuckling)
TOM: Well, if you want to reuse it then obviously you have to use the proper types of tarps and everything to keep it nice and neat and clean, which you certainly can do. There’s no reason. But what Leslie and I are saying is if you’re planning on using the – going back to hardwood underneath, then …
TOM: … just leave it down; let it be the drop cloth and go ahead and paint. Last thing you do is pull the carpet up, pull up the tackless, refinish the hardwood and you’re good to go.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And make sure that paint on your walls is completely dry because there’s going to be a tremendous amount of sanding, I’m sure, involved to sort of spruce up the look of the hardwood. So let that paint really dry on the walls, then go ahead and refinish that floor. Let it cure very, very well and then move everything back in.
IRENE: Oh, well that was the part that was bothering me was because I know that it’s so messy sanding.
IRENE: And with a new paint job – it’s kind of a large living room – I thought, ‘Oh, my. I’ll have a mess cleaning up afterward.’
TOM: One of the ways to minimize that is to cover the openings to the room with plastic sheeting …
TOM: … and if you can take a fan and put it in the window and point the fan out so it pulls air from the inside out …
TOM: … that will depressurize that space as the sanding is occurring and pull all the debris right out.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And a lot of the sanders that many people are using today have built-in vacuum devices that sort of kick up a lot less dust and self-contain the dirt. It will be dusty but you will have a beautiful room when it’s done.
IRENE: So now you’ve answered my question. I really appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome, Irene. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk tile counters with Mike in California. How can we help?
MIKE: Well, I was – we installed a tile countertop in our kitchen about seven years ago and the grouting is kind of a mess and we’d really like to have some kind of surface that we can cut on and we can also put hot things on but not too terribly expensive. I was wondering what options would you recommend for us.
LESLIE: Hmm. So you’re looking to start over. I think if you’re looking for something that’s scorch-resistant and even – you know, I wouldn’t really ever recommend cutting things directly on your countertop because, number one, it’s bad for your knives. But if you feel like you’ve got to do it, something like a – those engineered quartz products; like a Silestone. You know, they’re scorch-resistant; they’re antimicrobial. You can sort of, if you get cut marks on them, eventually sand them away jus the tiniest bit and you’ll always be going through that surface material so you’re not going to wear away or wear away any coating. But I would say, you know, get whatever countertop that you’re interested as far as aesthetic and price-wise and then get yourself some nice cutting boards because you don’t want to damage your knives.
MIKE: Can we install this quartz type ourselves?
LESLIE: Not generally because it’s kind of an intricate cutting process for your sinks and your fixture placement and what-not and usually the price point tends to include the installation and the companies really aren’t going to stand up to warranties if you go ahead and install it yourself.
TOM: Leslie, what about the option of him using stone remnants in creating his own countertop, like they did the last time?
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely. If you’re using something as far as a natural stone or if you’ve got smaller counter areas, you might be able to go to a granite yard and sort of see what they’ve got odd remnant sizes of and get a great price because you’re able to utilize something from a similar species of granite that, you know, even if it comes from different slabs if they’re not adjoining to one another it doesn’t really matter if they match up and that could keep the cost way down for a beautiful natural stone product.
MIKE: And we could put hot things on that?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Absolutely. Hey, Mike, I tell you what we’re going to do for you. This will help save you a boatload of money moving forward into the future. We’re going to give you a one-year subscription to The Money Pit’s American Homeowners Association membership which is chock-a-block full of discounts on all kinds of home services. Perhaps you can use your membership to help find some contractors to help you with the tile and there’s lot of discounts as part of that and lots of other things around the house from insurance to groceries to eyeglasses. So we’re going to give that to you just for calling in today on the program.
MIKE: Oh, fantastic. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: You’re so welcome.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And stand by, Mike, because we’re going to take some info from you. And for those of you that are interested in the Money Pit membership, you can log onto our website at MoneyPit.com because right now we’ve got a great promotion going on. We are giving away a Zircon laser level and a Zircon OneStep stud sensor to the first 1,000 members that sign up for the Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership.
LESLIE: Mike, you’re going to get them, too.
TOM: Yes, that’s right. All that information is available at MoneyPit.com.
Up next, the man who saw New York’s bravest through their darkest hours in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center, former New York City fire commissioner Thomas Van Essen is joining us with some fire safety tips that could help save your life.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Get a $1,000 guarantee that the contractor you hire gets the job done right 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 might not be surprised to learn that a big percentage of fires happen at home. Well, they start in the kitchen. But what is going to surprise you is that a fire doubles in size every minute that it burns. I mean that is an amazing fact that’s true. So those first few seconds are crucial.
TOM: October is National Fire Prevention Month and we are pleased, proud and privileged to have with us a true hero, a man who saved countless lives in the 9/11 tragedy; Thomas Van Essen, the New York City fire commissioner.
Hi, Mr. Van Essen.
THOMAS: Hi, Tom, Leslie.
LESLIE: Hi there.
TOM: We are very, very proud to have you on the phone, sir, and first off I’m sure you’ve heard this many times but you can’t hear it enough. Thank you so much for your service.
THOMAS: Oh, thank you. That’s really nice of you to say. Thank you.
LESLIE: And I have to tell you, Mr. Van Essen, as a resident of New York City during 9/11 you did everything in your power to make me personally feel safe in my apartment not far from ground zero and I thank you personally from the bottom of my heart.
THOMAS: Oh, that’s very nice of you folks. That was a really difficult time and everybody responded in such a positive, wonderful way to try to make it as good as it could be. You know, it was just a horrible time for everybody and I’m glad we’re moving forward.
TOM: Well, I can’t think of anyone that’s better qualified to give us emergency preparedness advice and October being Fire Prevention Month, certainly this is the time when we fire up our heating systems and we see the dreaded space heaters getting pulled out and we have lots of family over as we’re cooking up wonderful meals that occasionally can catch fire; especially if it’s my house. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
But we’d like to talk with you about some ways that we can stay safer in the kitchen. Where do we begin?
THOMAS: Well, I mean you hit it right on the head. You know, so many fires, they say, over 30 percent start in the kitchen and it really is a great place to look around and try to think safety is the best place to start. Try to look for hazards that you might have in the kitchen. A lot of people put – they’ll put a candle in the area or some kind of a light – something that’s lit near the curtains and the wind will blow and you could have a fire like that. It’s just not a good idea to have any curtains or to have any extra flammable things. I’ve seen my wife or other people sometimes put paper dishes on top of a stove and not realizing it’s still very hot. Put things – you know, making outlets overloaded with all of the appliances that we have in kitchens today. Having things that are flammable and dangerous underneath the sink, which is a great place to hide things and get it out of the way but also very dangerous and can – you know, you might have some garbage under there; you might put a cigarette or something that’s still hot into your garbage.
So I think the best place for people to start is to just look around and try to prevent or eliminate potential hazards in the kitchen. That’s a great place to get started.
LESLIE: Well, even a potential hazard that initially doesn’t seem like a hazard. You know, you’re innocently cooking something on your stove top and you get distracted; the baby cries; the doorbell rings and something can ignite so quickly. You know, what are some of those things or steps that you can take while cooking, other than clearing things around, just to be sort of mentally prepared for a potential emergency?
THOMAS: You know, it really is – all of these things are preventable and it’s mostly women who are distracted; children screaming or a noise in the other room, the phone, the doorbell rings. All of those things and aprons; towels around the arms; clothing that’s not fit – you know, tight to your body, just loose. There’s so many different things and I think just an overall mentality of thinking about fire being dangerous rather than fire just being a useful tool. I’ve seen that so many times with candles. People look at it as a light source rather than a fire source. And I think if the mindset works towards just thinking about eliminating hazards, we could do a lot to prevent these types of tragedies.
LESLIE: Would it be the best step if you do sort of get distracted from a cooking situation just to turn off the burner and really step away; cover it up? I mean is it true if there’s a grease fire keep the lid of the pot nearby and just throw that on?
TOM: Yeah, that’s a great question because I think in that moment of panic people really don’t know what to do. What do you advise is the best thing to do if you have a meal get away from you?
THOMAS: You know, it is very dangerous when you see people overreact and will have maybe a whole pot full of olive oil or something burning and you see a fire – something catches on fire and they’ll throw water onto it and you’ll just make the situation worse. The best thing you can do in a situation like that is smother it or use the proper extinguisher that will do that same thing; that will actually take away that heat source rather than throwing water on it or, you know, trying to move it. Sometimes I’ve seen that and I keep talking about how dangerous my wife is. (Tom and Leslie laugh) But …
TOM: She needs a firefighter in the house, huh?
THOMAS: Yeah. She grabbed the frying pan and tried to take it to the sink and that just – you’re really looking for trouble. Covering it with a cover, if you think ahead enough to do something like that that’s a great way to do it.
TOM: And you mentioned fire extinguishers. I think that that’s a great point and, in fact, you’re here to tell us a bit about a new fire extinguisher that’s on the market and Leslie and I kind of like it because it’s both attractive and functional at the same time. You know, just like us. It’s called the HomeHero. Why don’t you tell us about it.
THOMAS: Yes, HomeHero, that’s one of the things I’m working with them on; trying to, I think, expand their whole vision of trying to help the consumer; not just to sell them a product but to try to help them and educate them and get them to think about safety in the home more than they do now and being prepared and how to respond to that problem if it occurs or eliminate the hazards. And this – the concept behind this extinguisher is that it’s attractive and you’ll leave it out and then if you need it you’ll know where it is rather than trying to run to the garage for it or try to find it underneath the sink or behind a whole load of newspapers or something somewhere that, you know, you just wanted to get it out of the way.
So the concept of having the right product that’s easy to use, that’s easy to handle and having it somewhere convenient where you know where it is; that’s the idea of this and the line of products is to try to, you know, expand their whole vision, I think of educating the homeowner in fire safety and just all-around home safety.
TOM: Well, that’s great advice.
Thomas Van Essen, the former New York City fire commissioner, thanks so much for sharing your expert home safety advice with us.
And if you’d like some more information about the HomeHero that Mr. Van Essen just mentioned you can find that at your local Home Depot.
THOMAS: Thanks very much.
LESLIE: Thank you so much.
Gosh, it’s just amazing talking to Mr. Van Essen. It really was such a profound day and being somebody who lived right through it right there working next to the site it’s just amazing to talk to him and really get a grasp on the city. It was life changing.
Alright, folks. I know it’s a big segue here but, you know, metal roofing; we promised you we were going to talk about it and it was really one of the most popular types of roofing that was around and it’s making a huge comeback in a big way. So, up next, we’re going to tell you why metal roofing is such a great choice for reroofing your home.
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: 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 the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So call us right now and ask us your home improvement question on the air. If you do, we’re going to throw your name into the Money Pit hardhat for a random prize drawing and this hour you could win the 4-in-1 QuadBox from GearWrench. It’s a ratcheting wrench. It’s perfect for tight spaces and even those over-torqued fasteners. It’s worth 30 bucks but it could be yours today for just asking us your question on the air. So give us a call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Easy as that. 888-666-3974.
Up next, metal roofing is our topic. You know, it’s making a huge comeback in today’s homes and a big reason is, believe it or not, it’s energy efficiency. And you say, ‘How can a metal roof possibly do anything for my energy efficiency?’ Well, there are now high-tech new coatings on the metal roof that actually reflect the sun and lower your cooling costs, which I think is pretty cool. Plus, the metal roof can be made to simulate wood shakes. It can look like clay tiles. It can even look like Victorian metal tiles which are, you know, really, really gorgeous.
LESLIE: The little fishtail ones, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So basically it’s a very durable, very energy-efficient, fire-retardant, maintenance-free roof. Now, some types of metal roof coverings will help you go green since they can be produced with up to 65 percent recycled materials and because they weigh actually very little, these metal roofs can be installed right over top of existing roofs and of course that eliminates the need to tear off the first roof and then contribute towards the debris in a landfill. So for a whole bunch of good reasons, metal roofs are really a good thing to look at these days.
LESLIE: Yeah and the only thing that we really have to warn you, sort of as a cautionary advice when you’re thinking about metal roofing, is the underlayment. You do have to treat it a little bit specially if you’re going with a raw roof or you’ve taken off the existing material. Because in hot climates the metal roofs can tend to absorb extra heat and this means that if you use a quality underlayment designed to withstand these conditions, your roof is going to perform excellently. So try Grace Ultra. It’s not affected by high heat. It helps protect sloped roofs from the effects of wind-driven rain and even ice dams. If you want some more information on good roofing choices or even underlayment options you should visit GraceAtHome.com. Very informational website. Everything you want to know about roofing and weatherstripping and keeping your house nice and dry.
TOM: Or if a reroof is in your future, pick up the phone and call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Koi (sp) in Alabama, welcome to The Money Pit. Tell us what’s happening at your house?
KOI (sp): Well, I purchased an old house that has an above-ground, cast-iron sewer pipe. It has a leak and the ground underneath is wet. It’s not a bad leak. But is there any way to patch that; cover it with rubber or something and – rather than having to cut a section of the pipe out?
TOM: Well, cast-iron pipes generally don’t leak; although sometimes it looks like they do. Now, are you absolutely sure that water is getting out of this? And I’ll tell you why they don’t leak. Because typically the water runs one way down the pipe and it doesn’t leak unless there’s a blockage in the pipe that causes the water to back up. Now, having said that, many times around the joints, around the pipe joints, it looks wet; it looks leaky. But that’s not a leak. What that is is a material called oakum which is oil-based that is used to make the gasket where these pipes come together. Sometimes that oil will leach out and make the pipe look wet but it’s not really a leak.
KOI (sp): Well the ground underneath is wet under that spot.
TOM: So, this is going – but you said it goes above ground?
KOI (sp): Yes, it’s above ground.
TOM: So it goes above ground from the basement? Or where?
KOI (sp): It’s a large crawlspace. It’s about a four-foot crawlspace and it’s about midway between the ground and the floor.
TOM: And the ground underneath it is wet …
KOI (sp): Yes.
TOM: … and do you see a place in the pipe where the water is leaking out?
KOI (sp): I haven’t found where it’s leaking out but I put my finger there and there’s water on it in between the joints.
TOM: Well, here’s what I would do. I would run some water through those pipes and see if you can pinpoint exactly where the leak is. If it’s in the joints, those joints can be repacked with the material called oakum and that will stop the leak. But I will say that it’s very infrequent for those leaks to occur.
KOI (sp): Yes, it’s a very old house; about in the 1920s, late 20s.
TOM: Is it a cast iron pipe?
KOI (sp): Yes, it’s cast iron pipe.
TOM: OK. Well, it doesn’t go bad when it’s cast iron. It just needs some maintenance.
KOI (sp): OK, well I’ll run the water through there and check and see if I can determine where it’s coming out.
TOM: That’s the first step.
Koi (sp), thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
KOI (sp): OK, thank you.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice ahead including our e-mail bag. We’re going to jump in and answer a home improvement question. It might be yours. This one’s from a listener who wants to know how can he hang a heavy cabinet on the wall that seemingly has no studs in it. Hmm, great mystery. Well we’re going to help him defy the laws of gravity, 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.
Alright, Money Pit fans. Here is a home improvement nightmare.
TOM: I’m ready.
LESLIE: Alright, Tom. You know you’ve got a leak in your upstairs bathroom because you can see the water damage to the ceiling below it. But you have no idea where it is or how to find it. So before you start ripping out that sheetrock we’ve got some tips and tricks for you to hunt down that leak in a more specific area. You’re going to find them in our very next Money Pit e-newsletter. If you’re not a subscriber you can sign up for free right now at MoneyPit.com.
And while you’re there you can shoot us an e-mail by clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. For example, here we’ve got one from Monty in San Antonio who needs some kitchen helps and writes: ‘I’m installing new wall cabinets. The problem is behind two cabinets there’s only one wall stud. How can I fasten the cabinet to the wall so it’s not going to fall once I go and put the things in it?’
TOM: You know, that’s one more stud than I’ve had many times when I had to fasten …
TOM: … cabinets to the wall. Yeah, you know, there’s a trick of the trade to this. First of all, of course in a perfect world you would have, you know, probably two studs behind every cabinet that you wanted to attach to the wall; you’d use your stud finder to locate the specific location of those studs; you’d predrill your cabinets and attach them with proper screws. But sometimes you don’t have enough studs. So the trick of the trade here is this.
Sometimes you can hang a cabinet off of the two cabinets that surround it. So you have one stud here. That’s great. So I would obviously find out where that is. But the other thing that you want to do is to clamp the stiles – that’s the sides of the cabinets – together and you pull the doors off the three cabinets that you’re working on here; the two that are opposite and the one in the middle. Pull the doors off; clamp the frames of the cabinets together; predrill holes and then screw those cabinet fronts together. So now it’s attached in the front; it’s supported by the adjoining cabinets, Monty, and it’s attached to the one wall stud in the back. If you do that, that whole thing is going to be locked together. Do that with every cabinet in the row. It’ll be totally locked; totally secure and it won’t fall down.
LESLIE: So this way, even if you’ve got a cabinet, like you said, in a situation with no stud, it’s going to work. Good advice.
TOM: Defying gravity right here on The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Can’t tell you how many times I did that in the years I installed kitchens in new construction. At least that’s what I’ve heard. (Leslie chuckles) So far no crashes. (chuckles)
TOM: Well, the winter season can be very harsh on your flowerbeds but there actually are a few things that you can do even amidst the snow to make sure that your beds are ready for perfect blooms come next spring and that is the topic of today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right, Tom, and you know, it doesn’t just have to be a snow-covered flowerbed because regardless of the seasonal temperature differences where you live in this country, your flowerbeds should actually be mulched all year because it’s going to help to provide protection to the plantings; it provides organic matter for the soil and it keeps the moisture on the bed to continually nurture your garden. And you should have about two to three inches of mulch all year round. Now, if where you live the winter is cold you want to go for about four inches of mulch and as your leaves start to fall, be sure to clear them from the flowerbeds so that they’re not going to smother growing plantings or encourage rot growth. Would be really bad for your flowerbeds.
And you also want to remember to fertilize your lawn before the ground becomes frozen and to reseed any patchy areas. You also want to protect the seeding with a layer of hay to encourage the seeds to take and grow for the springtime. There’s a lot of things that you can do and yes, it does involve covering things up but it’s going to make for a much more lovely garden come springtime.
TOM: Tips, advice available 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT as well as at MoneyPit.com. While you’re there you can download our podcast; listen to us at any time of the day or night and you can feed that urge to tackle home improvements at 3:30 a.m. in the morning. We’ll be there to help you get by even at that hour.
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.)