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 now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are here to help you get the job done. Getting chilly out? Are you starting to pay those energy bills? Oh, my God. I got the first one.
LESLIE: They’re only going to get worse.
TOM: (chuckling) The first one.
LESLIE: That’s all I have to say.
TOM: It’s always the first one that hurts, you know? I guess you get used to it.
LESLIE: It’s a shock to the system.
TOM: Exactly. So if you’ve got an energy leaker in your house somewhere maybe you want to change your doors, your windows, add some weatherstripping. Pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, getting dishes clean has never been easier. That happened to me after I had kids. (Leslie chuckles) All of a sudden it got easier.
LESLIE: Free labor?
TOM: But dishwashers have actually come a long way over the last few decades. Does yours have all the bells and whistles? Do you really need them? Is it worth paying for them? How do you know if the dishwasher is going to be energy and labor efficient so you don’t just stress and strain while you’re doing it? We’re going to tell you in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also this hour, are you finding that when it rains it pours into your house? (Tom laughs) Well, if the water is making its way into your home it can only mean trouble because water intrusion can cause structural damage and become a health hazard if you find that mold is going to develop, and it will. We’re going to tell you how to keep water out for good.
TOM: Also ahead, when does a draft actually help keep your house warmer? It’s a riddle. Well, when it’s in the attic. Find out why drafty attics are a really good thing and you really can’t have too much air up there. We’re going to teach you why that can actually make the air below the insulation a lot warmer and more comfortable all winter long.
LESLIE: And being the happy givers that we are, we’ve got a great prize for you guys this hour. It is 150 bucks worth of Minwax products.
LESLIE: It’s a sampling of stains and finishes. It’s going to protect all of your woodwork and I bet you can create one, two, if not dozens of projects with this.
TOM: That’s worth having around just when I scratch something, you know? You can touch it up.
TOM: You’ve got a total kit there; do everything you need to do. So, we’re going to help you get those jobs done but you’ve got to help yourself and pick up the phone right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Ooh, going far north with Cathy in Alaska. Welcome. How can we help you?
CATHY: We have an older home. When we moved in there’s a lot of telephone wires and cable wires all like wrapped around the outside of the house …
CATHY: … running from the box all over the place and we’re trying to get some of that cleaned up and moved out of the way so we can paint. And we had been told that if we start – because these wires seem to not be connected to anything.
CATHY: We were told – like especially the telephone wires – if we went to take those off that we could disconnect the telephone wires and mess the whole thing up. But we have some running all over the place; the outside (inaudible). How do we begin to clean this mess up?
TOM: Well, certainly if you happen to take down the active telephone line you could disconnect your service. But if you say it’s not connected to anything then it’s just a matter of tracing that wire and seeing where it goes. I know what you mean because a lot of times, over the years, utility companies and cable companies use subcontractors as installers …
TOM: … and they get paid by the job. So the faster they get the house wired and on to the next one the more money they make and that ends up with a lot of …
LESLIE: And they never disassemble the old stuff.
TOM: Yeah, it ends up with a lot of very sloppy wiring around the country. (Cathy chuckles) And so, your options are to try to do it yourself, very carefully, if you can identify which are the live or not. But if not, you know what? It might be worth just spending $75 or $100 on the skills of an electrician that can test all the circuits, identify which are hot and pull down all the rest that are not. It will look a lot neater and you’ll be a lot more happy and you can get the house painted.
CATHY: OK, great. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got John from North Carolina who’s working on a bathroom. What’s going on at your house?
JOHN: I’m a big fan and I just started listening to The Money Pit.
TOM: Thank you.
JOHN: I’ve got limited lighting in my bathrooms and I’ve got a small, lighted fan in the ceiling and I was wondering if anybody would make like a track lighting with a fan that I could install. Because I’ve gone to Home Depot and Lowe’s and they – the ones that they’ve got are just big and personally I think they’re ugly looking.
LESLIE: Now, are you using a ceiling fan in the bathroom for ventilation purposes or are you using it to keep cool?
JOHN: You know, I’ve got an exhaust fan in there and I’ve just got just a plain square one in there now and I was wondering if they made any type of …
LESLIE: There’s actually a really beautiful, very simple venting fan for the bath. It looks just like a high-hat; you know, those ceiling cans; those recessed lightings? It looks exactly like that; very simple. You would have no idea that there is a fan mechanism attached to it. All of that is in the space above. What is the name of the company? It’s with a ‘b,’ Tom. Broan.
TOM: Broan. Yes.
LESLIE: Broan makes it.
LESLIE: And it’s beautiful. And so you can put …
TOM: B-r-o-a-n. Yes, correct.
TOM: And once you get the fan dealt with so you have the ventilation solved, then you could look into a number of different lighting options.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, or even at other high-hats.
TOM: Yeah, exactly, and we could all look the same.
TOM: You know, when they make the combined unit that has the light and the fan together, the lights are never very bright. They’re usually about 60 watts and you know what? That just doesn’t do it in the bathroom. Yeah, it just doesn’t do it in the bathroom.
LESLIE: No, this is perfect. Believe me. We’ve put one in our house and it is great for shaving, putting on makeup, you can put a dimmer on it and relax in the tub. It’s a great light.
TOM: John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JOHN: Thank you.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Betsy in Vermont who’s working on a project for the kitchen. How can we help?
BETSY: I want to build a 2×3 cutting board. Should I use plywood and then what is food-grade linseed oil and where would I find it?
TOM: Oh, that’s an interesting question. So you want to build a cutting board and well, plywood – I guess you could but I would much prefer to see you use a hardwood.
TOM: So you would probably want to use an oak or a maple or a birch or a poplar.
LESLIE: And what’s interesting. If you choose one of those types of wood you can get simple 1×1 or 1×2 stock lumber and stack them all together so you almost get that butcher block feel.
TOM: And in terms of the finish on it, you can use vegetable oil …
TOM: … which is fine. Made tons of cutting boards over the years with just vegetable oils. Or if you get a food-grade linseed oil you may have to order that from a specialty shop because you’re not going to find it at a hardware store or a home center but that certainly is another option.
BETSY: OK, so I go for birch, oak or …
TOM: Or walnut. You know, one of the hardwoods. Poplar. Yeah, but plywood’s going to be too soft for that.
BETSY: OK, thank you much.
LESLIE: Got a home improvement problem? Got a home improvement dilemma? We can help so call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are you shopping for a new dishwasher? We’re going to give you some ideas to help you choose one that’s going to work for you and not against you.
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. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller that we talk to this hour is going to get the answer to whatever home improvement situation is going on at their house right now plus a handy toolbox prize package and it’s from the folks at Minwax. It’s worth 150 bucks and it includes a selection of wood stains, protective finishes. It’s all in convenient half-pint cans and it’s all packed up in a reusable toolbox which is so handy. Got to be in it to win it though and that number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
OK, now is the time of year when we spend a lot of time inside the house and might be one of those times when you’re thinking about perhaps replacing some appliances, including your dishwasher. I know a lot of folks do it this time of year; before the holiday season and you start really having to run those multiple loads through. But if you’re going to buy a dishwasher what are the features that are absolutely the must-haves?
Well, first off, make sure it’s Energy Star rated. It’s hard to believe but I know that there are still some out there that are not. But you’ve got to buy Energy Star rated dishwashers.
LESLIE: I can’t believe that’s even allowed.
TOM: I know. It’s crazy. Buy one that’s Energy Star rated. It’s a government program where manufacturers compete to make dishwashers that are most energy efficient. That’s absolutely critical.
LESLIE: And all appliances.
TOM: All appliances. Exactly.
Next, look for button controls as opposed to a large knob. It’s a lot easier to handle. In fact, some of the controls now are cool because they’re actually on the top of the door of the dishwasher.
TOM: You don’t actually have to see them, which gives you a very sleek, kind of gorgeous look. And they’re easy to use, especially if you have aches and pains or arthritis or anything like that. Make sure you can slide the racks in and out without any trouble, even when they’re full, and maybe even consider one of these cool, high-tech new drawer-style dishwashers which I absolutely love. They look like, I guess, two big sort of bread drawers is a good way to explain it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, they do.
TOM: And half of the dishwasher – you can run half a load, but you pull the drawer out to put stuff in and push it back in. You can run a half a load or you can do both drawers and do the full load. And those are cool.
LESLIE: And both drawers are still full size and full decks, so it’s not like you can’t get a platter into one versus the other.
TOM: Plenty of room. So remember, Energy Star and take a look at those controls and the size and the shape. You’ll get one that is easy to use and will save you money at the same time.
Got a question about your appliances? Got a question about your kitchen? Got a question about your floor? We’re here to take it. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kevin in Nevada who’s got some birds getting in the house. How is it happening?
KEVIN: We’ve got the soffits going in underneath the roof line.
KEVIN: Or for airflow that’s going in there and it’s certainly got some sort of grating in there but they seem to be strong enough to be punching those out …
KEVIN: … and bending them in.
TOM: Oh, boy. Persistent little buggers, aren’t they?
KEVIN: Yeah, and I had – in the past I’ve gone to one of the home improvement stores and got the kind of a thicker one that has got the grate and then they’ve got some metal in front of it but it seems to restrict some of the airflow and the places where they’re hitting now are not as easy to get to. So I just didn’t know if there was something that you guys could suggest that would help with this issue.
TOM: Well, in the soffit the best material to use in the soffit is perforated soffit vent material which would – do you have wood, plywood, there now with vents in the middle of it? Is that what you have?
LESLIE: Yeah, and so that’s a perfect material for the birds to sort of get at and as the plywood gets involved in the environmental conditions it’s going to sort of weaken anyway. So there is a plastic material that’s a full, continuous piece that’s built for the soffit that’s continually vented. So it’s actually providing better venting as well.
TOM: And they also have aluminum vented soffit material, too. It’s totally pierced so it lets lots of air in.
So those are two things you can do if you want to replace the soffit material. If you’re just trying to discourage the birds from attacking these individual vents, another thing you might want to do is get some pigeon wire which is usually aluminum or stainless steel wire – it looks kind of spiky – and attach it upside down to the vent area. When they get near it they’ll come in contact with the spike and be dissuaded from trying to get into that space.
KEVIN: Oh, OK. Great.
TOM: And that’s available at home centers. Also seen it online. Pretty inexpensive stuff and it’s pretty effective and it’s humane. They just don’t want to be near it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, the birds will only do it once.
KEVIN: Yeah, well perfect. That’s all I need.
TOM: Alright, Kevin. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
KEVIN: Thanks a lot.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Betty who’s got a problem with the deck. What’s happening?
BETTY: When we built our house they put the deck on after the siding was put on.
BETTY: And so they put the board, like the 2×8 or 10, whatever it is that they put, you know, first up against your house?
LESLIE: To the house, yeah.
BETTY: Well, we got siding underneath and it’s Masonite siding and that stuff really is not very good siding. And I was wondering is there a way to keep the water – the water from the deck is going back and getting back behind the board that holds the deck on.
TOM: Right. Yeah, and that’s unsafe.
BETTY: And then – (chuckling) and it’s deteriorating the siding. Is there any way to keep the water from going back behind there?
TOM: At this point, no because it was built incorrectly.
TOM: The way to do this is when the siding is off the deck box beam is flashed so the flashing actually goes over the deck box beam and up under the siding. So, is there a way to stop it now with it built like …
LESLIE: With the entire deck in place?
TOM: Yeah. No. Not really.
TOM: Yeah, you’d have to replace the siding or pull the deck box beam off. It’s a pretty major repair.
BETTY: Well, that’s what I thought. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, and that hardboard siding – you know, eventually, Betty, you’re going to have to replace all of that. You know, it’s awful stuff. I used to – I was in the home inspection business for 20 years and whenever I saw homes that had that composite siding I used to tell folks it was fine as long as you painted it everyday before you went to work. (Betty chuckles) The stuff just melts. It just melts.
BETTY: Yeah. Well, I’ve kept it painted it real good and I haven’t had any trouble anywhere but there.
TOM: Yeah, because the water is trapped against it. So maybe it’s worth doing the repair.
BETTY: Yeah. Well, I added a board on top of the deck; you know, about a one-inch, and that keeps the water out away from it.
TOM: Yeah, but it’s not a weatherproofing repair, Betty, and what you don’t understand is that if that starts to rot away the connection this deck can become very unsafe. So it really needs to be done correctly.
LESLIE: Mike in Wisconsin is looking to finish up his basement. How can we help?
MIKE: Hi, guys. I love your show.
LESLIE: Hey, thanks.
MIKE: I’ve got a 100-year-old house that the basement walls are made of limestone and they’re crumbling. So my wife and I have decided to have the house lifted and new walls – the old walls excavated out and new walls put in. And the question I have is what would you think would be a better material to use; poured concrete or cinder block, as far as cost effectiveness either way, that type of thing. I wondered if you could help me out.
TOM: Well, my top choice would be poured concrete if you have the accessibility and can do it. But when you’re doing a house lift like that, you know, sometimes site access is the issue and it may be easier to do this with concrete block than poured concrete. I would say if you have room to get the forms in there, Mike, I would go with the poured concrete. But you know, that being said, if you don’t have the room there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a concrete block foundation if it’s properly assembled.
I hope that you have a good engineer on this project because this is not a project that should be done by anyone less than that.
MIKE: Right. OK. OK.
TOM: Because it’s a tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky operation to get the weight off that wall and dig out the old one and then rebuild a new one and then gently get the weight back on it.
MIKE: Right. Right, I understand. Yeah, I’ve already got an engineer lined up to at least start looking at the site for me.
TOM: Yeah, you want an engineer to supervise this project. Not only do you want to make sure that it’s going to go successfully; your house is not going to come tumbling down. But when it comes time to sell the house some questions might come up about the work that was done on the foundation and if you have an engineer’s certification that it was done up to their specifications and their design that’s as good as a pedigree on the structure of your house.
MIKE: Well, super. Super. I really appreciate it. You guys gave me a lot of great information. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, painting your house? Do it yourself. Replacing your foundation? Not so much.
LESLIE: And it’s a really interesting process. Around where I live there were several homes around the town that happened to just be repouring their foundations around the same time and it was interesting to watch these homes completely moved and lifted. I mean what a nightmare. If you’re that homeowner you’re just watching in disbelief as your house is completely …
TOM: It is pretty fascinating. You know, one of the techniques that they use is called needle beaming …
TOM: .. and imagine taking a girder and threading it through the old foundation as if it was a needle. (chuckling) You know, a thread through a needle?
LESLIE: That is insane.
TOM: And then they life the beam up and of course that lifts the house and now there’s no weight of the foundation. They can get under there and replace it. It’s a pretty challenging process but if you’ve got to do it that’s that way to go.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Rick in Texas who’s got a question about propane. What’s going on?
RICK: Well, I’ve got a propane tank in our house and I want to use some vent-free fireplace logs and I was wondering if there’s any danger; if I need to worry anything about like carbon monoxide if I have my vent closed on my chimney and I run these vent-free propane logs.
TOM: Absolutely. Now, you say a vent-free propane log. I’m not following you on that. This is a ceramic log for a fireplace that’s designed to work with a gas fireplace? Is that what you’re saying?
TOM: And when you say vent-free, are you telling me that the log is manufactured to be so small that you don’t have to vent it?
RICK: That’s correct.
TOM: Well, look. I don’t like unvented fireplaces; never have for a bunch of reasons, one of which is carbon monoxide and the second of which is moisture. When you burn natural gas or propane the offgas on that is 80 percent water vapor. So now you’re putting acidic water vapor into the house air. Even if it is so low that it doesn’t have carbon monoxide in it, it’s still a bad idea.
TOM: So I would recommend against it.
RICK: Alright, that makes sense. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Rick. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And the acidic water vapor is really what deteriorates so many of the interior linings of chimneys. That’s why so many people have to get their chimneys lined. So it really could do a whole host of problems to the house.
TOM: Not to mention, you know, anything else that’s metal in the area including outlets, light switches, things like that. So just generally a bad idea.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up, including information on the upcoming winter. It’s going to be cold soon and you know that winter weather could be super rough on you and your house. So we’re going to have some tips on stopping winter water leaks and drafts before they get into your home. So stick around.
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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
So before we left you for a second we were talking about water.
TOM: Yes, mm-hmm.
LESLIE: Winter weather, water. It gets in your house. It can really be a problem. And in fact, the water intrusion, if it does get into your house, is one of the quickest ways to create problems in your home. And you know …
TOM: It’s also very tricky in the wintertime because …
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: … you get the ice that sort of lays in wait and creates sort of like the dams and the diversions so it shoots water in different places.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, it expands …
LESLIE: … and then cracks things open. So you’ve really got to be careful, especially in the cooler temperatures around the country, because not only can it cause structural damage to your home but it can encourage mold growth behind the walls where you can’t see it and you’ll never know it’s there until somebody’s not feeling well or it finally shows itself. And something as simple as the right kind of flashing when you’re doing projects can really make a big difference.
And usually you hear the word flashing you’re thinking that old metal kind. It’s probably the first thing that you’re thinking of and it’s still around and people are still using it but you should know that there’s more modern materials that are available for flashing. They’re really made to do the just much, much, much better and one of the products that Tom and I love is Grace Vycor Plus. It’s flexible; it’s pliable; it’s easy to install.
TOM: Yeah, and this type of flashing is also not only self-adhering but the flexibility of it is what makes it work because, you know, let’s face it; it’s hard to make a flashing seam if you can’t bend the stuff around corners.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: And so, if it is flexible it makes a lot of sense and it really seals them up and it’s one thing that – it’s the one job you want to do just a single time and have it work to keep those windows and those doors and those roof eaves and the plumbing vents as tight as they possibly can. Keep that water out of your house; not only in the winter but all year long.
If you want some more information it’s at GraceAtHome.com. It’s GraceAtHome.com or call us if you’ve got a leak that maybe has been a bit difficult to deal with and you don’t know how to handle it. We’ll help you get to the bottom of it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Florida’s got a venting question. What’s happening at your house?
MIKE: Well, I’m remodeling my kitchen and I’m trying to install the microwave oven which would duct up through the attic. And it’s got like a – the microwave oven itself, on the top of that where the vent would go, it’s like 3.5×10 inches. Now it’s an older house and it has this – from the roof line coming down is a seven-inch diameter, I guess, stainless steel tube and somehow I’ve go to connect that up to that but the – where the holes and all are cut for the cabinetry and the matching coming down for the tube, they don’t line up. So is there a way that I can use like flexible tubing and hook one up to the other?
TOM: Do you have the clearance to use the flex tubing?
MIKE: I’d have to cut – I think I’d have to cut some of the seven-inch diameter tube coming down from the roof. I’d have to cut a portion of that.
TOM: You can use it but make sure the flex tubing is metal. Do not use any of the plastic flex tubing because you’re going to be sucking up grease through that microwave exhaust fan and that could be very dangerous.
TOM: So, if you use metal flex tubing you’ll be OK.
MIKE: OK, well I’ll give that a shot because I know it has to be vented somewhere and I just don’t want it venting up into my attic.
TOM: No, absolutely. And it’s a good idea to get that out and a lot of folks have just recirculators. So if you’ve got the duct going out the hardest part of this is done but just connect the missing section there with flex tube and you’ll be good to go.
MIKE: OK, well thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Helen from California on the line. What can we help you with today?
HELEN: When I bought this place I didn’t know that I had to, you know, do prep work and stuff on the outside. My other townhouse I didn’t have to do that. But anyway, that is what is required and so now I have to, you know, see about the painters and on one of them …
LESLIE: Helen, are you supposed to get on a ladder and patch holes and fix caulking and sand things as well?
HELEN: No, I have to have somebody do whatever has to be done to get it ready for the painters which I think …
TOM: Uh-huh, and how many units altogether?
HELEN: Four-seventy-five and …
TOM: There’s obviously a lot of units. You need to dig out something called your public offering statement which is a document you would have gotten at the time of closing and it specifies who needs to do what. But the idea that the homeowners have to do the prep work for the painters is ridiculous. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Can’t believe she lives in a townhouse complex with all of those units and they’re trying to make the owners do their own paint maintenance. It sounds to me like a very badly …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, and that’s a major undertaking.
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like a badly managed association.
LESLIE: And what’s interesting is I think so many people turn to a building or a living situation where they’re getting into the building itself takes care of the maintenance because of a life situation or their age and now all of a sudden to be told, ‘Alright, you’ve got to get out there. Fix that.’
TOM: That’s why you pay maintenance fees. You know? Yeah.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s crazy.
TOM: Mm. Learn something new everyday.
Alright, Leslie, time to slay an energy myth.
LESLIE: Ooh, OK.
TOM: Alright, well the myth is that you want to seal up your house to be energy efficient in the wintertime, including your attic.
LESLIE: Mm, I disagree.
TOM: Bad idea. A drafty attic actually is one of the most energy efficient things that you can have. Wondering how this is possible? We’ll tell you, 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: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Our next program, the world of spackle and you. You don’t want to miss it. (Leslie chuckles) The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Only kidding. You like that, right?
LESLIE: (chuckling) It sounded disastrous and fun and maybe there would be funny images. (Tom chuckles) I was like, ‘I like this.’
TOM: This will prevent a disaster. If you call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT we’re giving away the handy toolbox prize package from Minwax worth almost 150 bucks. Pretty much a selection of every possible wood stain and protective finish you’ll ever need in your home improvement life all packaged up in convenient half-pint cans. So, see the good news is you’d have a color stain for everything but you could only do small projects (Leslie chuckles) or you’d have to do this checkerboard thing because you only get a half-pint of each.
LESLIE: Or you could (inaudible). (chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, exactly. But it could be interesting. If you want to win it – maybe you are DIY-er; could use that – call us right now because all callers to The Money Pit this hour will get their name tossed in the Money Pit hardhat. We’ll draw one name out at the bottom of the hour and if that is yours you will be getting that prize pack from Minwax worth 150 bucks.
LESLIE: Alright, great prize.
You know, Tom, you and I are always saying it’s so important; seal up those drafts, be energy efficient.
LESLIE: Stop those drafts coming in. But you know, you say it; I say it. There’s one place in the house where having a draft is good for you. It’s good for the whole house’s system and it’s actually the attic. A drafty attic can actually make your house feel warmer. I know it’s crazy but it’s true. Drafty attics; they’re going to flush the moisture right out of your insulation because even slightly damp insulation is going to lose as much as one-third of its ability to insulate.
TOM: I think that that is fascinating because people don’t realize that, you know, when you buy insulation it’s measured in r value.
TOM: And so let’s say if you have 10 inches of insulation that maybe is an r30 or so, if you add two percent moisture to that it drops by a third. So now it’s like having …
LESLIE: An r10.
TOM: … r20. Yeah. Well, 20.
LESLIE: Well, der. I can’t add today.
TOM: Do the math. (laughing)
LESLIE: (chuckling) We’ve already learned that math is not my strong point. (laughing)
TOM: Yes, but design and decorating is. (laughing)
LESLIE: (laughing) See, I could put all of those 12 pints – you know, those mini pints of stain – I’ll make you the best patchwork table you’ve ever seen. (Tom laughs) But ask me how many squares are there …
TOM: That’s alright.
LESLIE: … I couldn’t tell you.
TOM: I’ll handle the math. No problem. (laughing)
LESLIE: So, before I got all silly, you really do need to make sure that you’ve got a good, drafty attic. You want it to feel close enough to the temperature that it is outside. Make sure that your attic is well-ventilated. Reduce that moisture. It’s going to make your insulation more effective. It’s going to create a warmer house.
If you want some more tips – because we’ve got a lot of them – you can go to MoneyPit.com and click on Tip of the Day and you will find out something new every day and you can start using them right now.
TOM: Or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Lynn in Georgia who’s got a question about patching a hole in drywall. Is there a good story that goes along with this?
LYNN: (chuckling) Well, yes ma’am. Actually it’s my ceiling in the corner of my bathroom shower. (dog barks)
LYNN: I put in a tension rod for my shower to hold the shampoos and things …
LYNN: … and when I did that, over a period of weeks I looked up and realized that my ceiling was coming apart. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Oh, too much tension on that ceiling.
LYNN: And now I can see up into the attic. (Leslie gasps)
TOM: (chuckling) Alright.
LYNN: So I’m not sure what to do about it. We took down the tension rod obviously but the ceiling stayed up.
LYNN: The roof did.
LYNN: And I don’t know. Do I have to go up from the ceiling to fix it? What’s the best way to repair that? And it’s a popcorn ceiling.
TOM: Oh no, on top of that.
LESLIE: Ooh, a popcorn ceiling in the bathroom?
TOM: Is there a physical hole in the ceiling now, where it was?
LYNN: It came apart in the corners and so it just lifted up that whole corner and the tape that’s there.
TOM: Hmm. OK, well what you’re going to have to do in this case is, first of all, spray the ceiling and the popcorn with some water. Put it in a spray bottle; start scraping it off. Because you have to get that area smooth. And then this next step is you’re going to get some fiberglass drywall tape, which is kind of meshy and sticky, and lay it into the corner where the crack is and the third step is to spackle above that. You’ll probably need two to three coats. Do it very, very small; very thin. And then after it’s done sand it. There is some popcorn sort of ceiling repair textured stuff that comes like in a can …
LYNN: I’ve seen that.
TOM: … and you can squirt it on there to put the texture back. And then the last thing you’re probably going to have to do is paint the whole thing because the color won’t match but you can paint it. Use one of the big, slit rollers that hold a lot of paint and works well around the popcorn.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, you want the slit roller because the slots on it will open up around each sort of popcorn texture and not pull it off as you’re painting it. Because if you use a basic roller it’s going to pull all of it off. It’s going to be a giant mess.
LYNN: I had thought about taking the popcorn off of that bathroom. I did in my other bathroom.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
LYNN: And I listened to your show and I also heard how you were telling someone to first put on KILZ or something to treat – to lock in so the moisture doesn’t get down and then paint with a ceiling paint and – with a regular paint; a good paint. Well, I did that and it still – it’s lumpy, number one. I didn’t do a very good job. After I put the paint on, then I could see all the blemishes on my nice, flat, not-flat ceiling. (chuckles) And …
LESLIE: Did you use a paint with a sheen?
LYNN: I did not. I tried to use just a flat paint. Well, actually it has a little, tiny bit. It’s probably the next one up.
LESLIE: OK, like an eggshell or a sateen.
LYNN: Yes, I used an eggshell. That’s what I used.
LESLIE: Yeah, well the eggshell sometimes gives a texture of it’s own because that’s why they call it eggshell because it sort of has that texture-y type surface to it. You really want to make sure that once you get that popcorn off, if you’ve got any odd spots sand them down; make sure you really pay attention to it and again, use that primer and use the ceiling paint and go with a flat finish and it should do the trick. I mean you’re never going to get it perfect because of all that texture that was there unless you put up new drywall.
LYNN: Oh. So is there a product that I could have kind of a wavy ceiling that wouldn’t attract all the dirt; that I could just paint over?
LESLIE: Hmm, a wavy ceiling. Something with another type of texture?
LYNN: Correct. That wouldn’t – yes, that would be easier to wash but give it some texture so it would camouflage the mistake.
TOM: Well, there are texture additives to paint that you could add in there but I do think they are difficult to clean.
LESLIE: Well, but also if you put a whole, entire coat of spackle on the ceiling and get those texturing tools – you know, just like the sponge or that round brush – you can make little swirls. Like you can make a texture out of …
TOM: Out of spackle?
LESLIE: Out of spackle.
TOM: Yeah, I actually did that in my dining room and it still looks good many years later. But it’s hard to clean.
LYNN: It can’t be worse than popcorn. (chuckling)
LESLIE: No, nothing is.
TOM: (chuckling) No. Lynn, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
I actually answered this question on my AOL blog a couple of weeks ago …
LESLIE: Oh, yeah?
TOM: … about removing a popcorn ceiling. So go to the AOL real estate section, click on my picture and you can find the answer right there.
LYNN: Thank you.
TOM: Let’s see. Bell-bottoms, peace signs and fringe.
TOM: What does that remind you of?
LESLIE: The early 70s?
TOM: Yeah, and so does paneling. Wondering what to do about yours? We’re going to tell you, after this.
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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Give us a call with your home improvement question. Let us help solve your do-it-yourself dilemma. But you say, ‘I’m too shy to call!’ Well, you can go to our website at MoneyPit.com and you can shoot us an e-mail.
Hey, do you know, it’s time to think about getting your home heating appliances ready. You need to keep in mind also though that this is the prime time of year for a very deadly situation; carbon monoxide. So we want to remind you that this gas cannot be smelled; it can’t be seen and it can definitely kill you. So, in our very next e-newsletter we’re going to give you some tips on how you can make sure that your heating appliances are up to snuff, including the importance of purchasing a carbon monoxide detector. So if you don’t have one, go out this weekend and pick one up. It’s a great investment. If you want to sign up for the newsletter though you’ve got to head over to our website and that is at MoneyPit.com. The carbon monoxide tips will be in the next issue.
LESLIE: Alright, and while you’re at MoneyPit.com, like Tom said, you can shoot us an e-mail by clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie and we’ve got one here from Robin in Ohio who writes: ‘We are finally getting around to refinishing our basement. It’s already got the 70s paneling’ – like we were going to suggest that; ooh, you should put up paneling. (chuckling) ‘My husband and I don’t like it and we don’t like the idea of painting it. Would it be better to remove the paneling and put up drywall or can we just put the drywall up over the paneling and is there a special drywall that would be better suited for basements?’
TOM: Yeah, actually there is. So, OK, you don’t want to paint it because that’s obviously one thing that you can do. Now, if you want to remove it I think that there’s really no lose situation here because you’re saying that you’re going to put drywall up regardless.
TOM: So we want to try to get the paneling off and paneling that’s nailed is easy to take off. Paneling that’s glued on is hard to take off but it doesn’t really matter in your case because even if it is glued you’re going to end up pulling some of the paper of the original drywall off with you. So we would say, yes, go ahead and remove the paneling regardless of how it’s attached to the wall. Also remember that you’re going to have to extend out the outlets in the light switches …
TOM: … because now the drywall will probably be thicker than the paneling.
LESLIE: And any trimming that you have down there.
TOM: Right, exactly.
LESLIE: You might have to get longer lengths or piece pieces together just to make up for – even though it’s a slightly thicker profile now on the wall you’ll still find that you’re a little bit short on any sort of baseball or crown mouldings that you might have had there originally.
And as far as a special drywall there absolutely is one. Georgia-Pacific makes one called Dens Armor Plus and what’s interesting about this drywall is that it’s paperless and paper, we know, is the big food source for mold with moisture. So if you can get rid of that food source, in this case using a fiberglass-based drywall, you will be great for the basement.
TOM: Alright, let’s take an e-mail here from Cheryl in Louisiana. She says, ‘I recently bought an investment home and I’m in the process of renovating. I notice that most of the doors in the home refuse to stay open.’ Ah, maybe their possessed. (Leslie chuckles) ‘They tend to drift closed unless they are propped open. What can we do to get these doors to remain open?’
Well, the reason that is happening is because the jamb – that’s the hinge side of this – is out of level. If the jamb is leaning one way or the other, probably if it’s leaning in towards the rest of the door, it’s going to force the door to close on its own. So the solution would be to level that jamb. Now that’s difficult to do when it’s trimmed but what you can do is you can shim out the hinges. So you want to put a level on the door when it’s open and then shim out the hinges a little bit at a time until it’s nice and straight and then that will stop the ghost from forcing the door closed.
LESLIE: Alright, Cheryl, and enjoy your surprisingly unhaunted home.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Man we covered a lot of ground. Soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles. This show continues online at MoneyPit.com where you can also sign up for our free podcast; the number one ranked home improvement podcast in America comes at you free every single week. You can call in also 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we are not on the air when you call, our promise to you is you will get a call back from us to try and answer your home improvement question.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)