Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are the difference between a grounded outlet and an embarrassing trip to the hospital. (Leslie chuckles) We want you to work safely. We want you to work efficiently and we want you to get those jobs done. We’re here to help you do just that. We’ve got the tips, the advice to help you get those projects done quickly and efficiently. Pick up the phone now and help yourself by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
We’ve got a very busy hour planned for you; chock-a-block full of lots of home improvement tips. Up first, are you tired of looking at the dingy, dirty grout in your morning shower? Well, there’s a way to bring that grout back to life. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We’re going to give you a trick of the trade for bringing back the whiteness that once was.
LESLIE: And also this hour, I know this has happened to everybody out there because it’s happened to me. You know, you’re doing the laundry. You think you empty out all the pockets. You got everything out, right? And all of a sudden you’re going through the wash and you find out you left lipstick or a crayon or something in that wash and then into the dryer.
TOM: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left lipstick in my pants pockets. I tell you.
LESLIE: No, but you know it. With your kids …
TOM: The guys are really feeling it out there. They know exactly what you’re talking about.
LESLIE: No. Uh-uh. (Tom (chuckles) Any dad out there has fished a crayon out of that dryer and what an enormous mess it’s made. Well, you might not be able to get that stain out of the clothes but we are going to tell you what you need to do to get that stain out of the dryer so it doesn’t keep on turning into the gift that keeps on giving. (Tom chuckles) We’re going to tell you what to do in just a little bit. It’s terrible.
TOM: Cleaning it up at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Also coming up this hour, do you hibernate all winter long? You’re about to spend most of your time inside so you better make sure that the air is clear. Do you know that the EPA says that the air inside your house is actually 100 times more polluted than the air outside.
TOM: We’re going to get some expert tips from an indoor air quality expert in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also, we love to give away prizes here at The Money Pit and we have got a really great one this hour because one caller who we talk to on the air with a home improvement question – and that question can’t be ‘Give me this prize’ or ‘How do I get that prize?’ It’s got to be something wrong with your house or something that you need help with. This prize is the Ryobi four-piece lithium ion combo kit. It is brand, spanking new. It is just hitting the market. It’s worth 260 bucks but it could be yours for free.
TOM: It’s got a circ saw. It’s got a drill. It’s got a flashlight. All kinds of cool stuff in it. They sent me one. So the one I send you will only be slightly used.
LESLIE: Oh! (chuckling)
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Giving away that great kit worth 260 bucks.
LESLIE: Jeff in Iowa’s got a question about the bath. What’s going on?
JEFF: Yeah, I have some tile that is cracking like right around the toilet. And the grout around the tile is like flaking. And there’s caulk around the bathtub, so – to keep it from expanding and all that so I don’t know how it could be cracking.
TOM: Well, underneath the toilet there’s a wax seal and that makes the seal between the toilet and the drain and if the wax seal is starting to break down – which happens from, you know, moving and shifting of the toilet over the years – you could be leaking some water out there and if you leak the water out the floor’s going to start to decay and it’s going to get softer and that could cause shifting and the tile to crack. So the first thing I would do is I would very carefully place my foot against the side bowl of the toilet and press very gingerly around there to see if there’s any sponginess in the floor.
JEFF: Yeah, there definitely is.
TOM: Ah. OK, well now you have a bigger problem because now what you’re going to have to do is pull that toilet up and you’re going to have to pull the tile out and you’re probably going to have some floor decay in there and that’s, unfortunately, fairly common.
TOM: And you’re going to have to repair the floor; put the tile back; replace the wax seal and set it back in place. It sounds like that’s a pretty common wear-and-tear pattern that you’re experiencing there, Jeff, around the toilet and if you don’t fix it it’s going to get worse a lot quicker.
JEFF: Well, that would explain probably why there’s water leaking through the ceiling downstairs then.
TOM: Now, that’s a clue. You see that. (Tom and Leslie laugh) Jeff, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JEFF: OK. Thank you.
LESLIE: Marilyn in Colorado, what’s happening at your money pit?
LESLIE: Hi, there.
MARILYN: What’s happening? (chuckling) I had a water leak from above me from my neighbor who had bad plumbing …
TOM: OK. Alright.
MARILYN: … and water came down and it kind of sat in the center of the ceiling and I didn’t …
MARILYN: And over time it began to sag.
TOM: Alright. And so the ceiling is physically deformed then.
MARILYN: Yes, uh-huh.
TOM: OK. Well, and did you say this is a condominium?
MARILYN: Yeah, it is.
TOM: Will the association help you with these types of sort of neighborly issues or is it up to you to fix it?
MARILYN: Yeah, at this point it’s kind of up to me now.
TOM: OK. Well, here’s what you need to know. First of all, when the drywall actually sags you can’t do anything to get it back into place. A little trick of the trade – although it’s too late for you now but for those that have ever had this happen to them – if you get an active leak that’s coming through a ceiling, the first thing that you want to do, which is very counter-intuitive, is poke some holes in the ceiling. If you catch it while it’s active and you poke holes in the water comes out from behind it, it dries out and then you just a couple of small holes.
Now what you’re going to have to do is replace that whole section. So you’re going to have to cut out between the floor joists as wide as you need to go to get through the warped part and it’s basically a matter of cutting out the ceiling and nailing in a new place and then using tape at the joints. You’d probably use fiberglass tape which is perforated and easy to apply and then about three coats of spackle. But this basically involves cutting out the warped drywall and patching it and putting new stuff in. There’s no way around it.
MARILYN: OK. Alright. Well that’s helpful and I’m sure probably I can hire like a handyman type to do that.
TOM: Absolutely. Marilyn, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
MARILYN: OK, thank you.
LESLIE: Larry in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
LARRY: My high school woodworking teacher would also send students to the principal for a board stretcher. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
LESLIE: That is the best joke.
LARRY: What is the best mixture of Clorox bleach with water to take care of mildew on side walls and overhangs?
TOM: Well, probably for the purposes of cleaning exterior siding I would probably use one-third bleach and two-thirds water. You can also use a number of commercially available products to do that. There are house wash products that have mildicide in them that are perhaps a bit safer on the plants. When you use Clorox you have to be careful with the plants that are underneath.
LESLIE: And yourself.
TOM: And yourself.
LARRY: You have to be careful with your arms.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely.
LARRY: What are the names of the products?
TOM: Well, there’s Jomax, which is the Zinsser Company, and there’s – J-o-m-a-x – and there’s – what’s the one from Flood? DEKS…
LESLIE: Flood has the DEKSWOOD cleanser.
TOM: DEKSWOOD, mm-hmm.
LESLIE: You know, I really do just like the plain, old bleach and water. You just really do need to protect your hands, your eyes and be cautious around stuff in the house.
LARRY: I have a north roof and the heritage shingles have what looks like mildew on them.
LARRY: Do I need to be concerned about that and is there anything I can do about that?
TOM: It won’t hurt the shingles …
TOM: … so you don’t have to worry about the wear and tear.
LARRY: It’s just dark.
TOM: (overlapping voices) If you want to try to cut – I understand. It doesn’t look so nice. So if you want to clean it up you can use the mildicide, either the Clorox or you can use one of the commercial products, and then here’s another trick of the trade, Larry. If you were to add a copper ridge vent or a nickel ridge vent across the peak of that roof, you will find that that has the effect of washing the roof every time it rains because it releases some metal and it acts as a …
LARRY: Copper ridge vent.
TOM: You have a copper ridge vent or …
LESLIE: Or nickel.
TOM: Or nickel or simply a strip of copper over the ridge or a strip of nickel over the ridge. It will release some metal every time it rains and that will act as a mildicide. And the third thing you can do is try to get more sunlight on that north side of the roof. You can cut back some trees. Sunlight is the best mildicide.
LARRY: Can I buy that?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Yes, absolutely. Yeah, you can buy copper flashing, for example, and use that.
LARRY: Copper flashing. Thank you for answering me.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we are here to help you figure out any home improvement project; any home improvement dilemma. Just pick up the phone and call us with your question and we’ll help. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, a stray crayon, a forgotten pen or excess dye from clothing leaching out not only stains your clothes but also your dryer. When that happens it’s the gift that keeps on giving. It keeps on staining and staining and staining clothes. We’re going to give you a trick of the trade that will help you wash your dryer of those stains, 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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie and I are like your handy neighbors; although we know better than to lend you our power tools. (Leslie chuckles) We actually do better than that. We give them to you. We give them away. We’re giving away, this hour, a $260 set of lithium ion One Plus Ryobi combo kit. It’s got four cool tools in it and it’s available at The Home Depot but we’re going to give one away if you pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us to qualify. We’ll choose one name at random at the end of today’s show and shoot that person out this great set of tools from Ryobi; the four-piece lithium ion combo kit worth 260 bucks.
LESLIE: Yeah, that is a great prize. I mean it really is and the battery power, folks, you are going to be blown away by it.
So, earlier in the program Tom and I were joking, we know, about lipsticks and crayons and things getting stuck in your pockets and making their way through the laundry, but if it happens you know what a giant mess it can be for your clothes and for your dryer. So believe it or not you will end up with a stain in the dryer and then it’s going to go on the next load of clothes and the next one.
So if you find yourself in this situation what you want to do is you want to make sure that you apply a spray cleaner into the tumbler. A mild abrasive or even a laundry stain treatment to the affected area and you want to wipe it away with a damp cloth. Then dry a load of old towels or rags for about 25 minutes and these steps will remove that stain. Even if a mark remains on that tumbler, that color is not going to transfer onto your clothes. So you don’t have to replace the dryer. You don’t have to freak out. It’s easy to fix but make sure you do it; otherwise you are going to be running through clothes quicker than I don’t know what.
TOM: Tricks, tips, advice. Pick up the phone right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We can help.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Kay in Vermont, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
KAY: I have a very – I’m renting a very nice two-bedroom townhouse and last winter the temperatures were so severe that the wood door warped. Now should I just push for a storm door and see if that will work or should I go to have them replacing the door?
TOM: Well, perhaps both. If the wood door is warped you’re having a bad seal there so there’s a couple of things you can do. First of all, you could weatherstrip to make up for the warping. Secondly, you could add the storm door or you could have them replace the door. Now, if you have a brand new door in there you probably won’t need a storm door. It’s really going to be kind of up to your landlord.
LESLIE: Yeah, and especially if you have any pull at all with the landlord as to material or the type of door that they would use, you might want to ask them for a fiberglass door because based on the weather that you get in the Vermont area – it’s hot in the summer; it’s cold in the winter; you’re getting severe winters – you want to get a material like fiberglass because it’s not going to warp or rot or twist like real wood might but it’s going to look just like wood. It’s gorgeous. It has graining. It’s got beautiful staining in it. So it really will stand up well. If you’ve got any pull ask for that.
TOM: Take a look at a website for the folks that invented fiberglass doors; Therma-Tru. You can buy these at Lowe’s for as little, I think, as about $300 or $400. So they don’t have to be too expensive and they’re about eight times more energy efficient than wood doors.
Kay, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Tom in Anchorage, Alaska who’s dealing with a possible mold situation. How can we help?
TOM IN ALASKA: Hi, guys. Yeah, I’ve got a crawlspace – it’s about four feet high – and I’ve got this musty smell down there.
TOM IN ALASKA: And I think, you know, I haven’t seen any mold but I’m thinking that, you know, sounds like there might be some there. So, you know, looking at maybe trying to wipe it down and get rid of the smell and then what I can do to treat it, as far as keeping it from coming back. I’ve got viscuine down there; you know (inaudible) plastic down on the floor and I haven’t had any moisture per se.
TOM IN ALASKA: But it’s – you know, we have a wet season that things get real wet. So …
TOM: Well, let’s start with the basics, Tom. First of all, make sure that you are keeping that as dry as possible by paying careful attention to your exterior gutters; making sure that they are clean; make sure the downspouts are sloped away from the wall. And then take a look at the slope of the soil around the house. Make sure that’s also sloping away. Those two things will keep the moisture to a minimum inside.
Now, you say that you’re concerned about mold but you’re not sure that you have it? I don’t want to give you advice to treat something that doesn’t exist. Do you have any evidence that there’s a mold problem down there now or is it mostly just the humidity issue?
TOM IN ALASKA: Well, it’s mostly the smell makes me think …
TOM IN ALASKA: … that there ought to be something there. It’s kind of a musty smell.
TOM: Well, that doesn’t …
LESLIE: What about adding a fan? Like a vent fan?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what I was going to suggest. What you might want to do is get a crawlspace vent fan. These fans are exactly the size of a concrete block. They’re 8×16. They fit inside of the concrete block and they’re hooked up to humidistats. So whenever the humidity becomes high in the crawlspace they automatically come on and they draw drier air across the crawlspace which will make it less humid and eliminate that damp smell at the same time.
TOM IN ALASKA: OK. Now I had heard something about like wiping down the walls with a Clorox solution and I’ve got a wood foundation stem wall. It’s a treated wood.
TOM IN ALASKA: And I was wondering if there’s any safety issues with using Clorox on that treated wood.
TOM: No, there isn’t but there’s a new product out that is applied with a fogger that you might be interested in. It’s called Concrobium mold control; spelled C-o-n-c-r-o-b-i-u-m. It’s sold at The Home Depot and you have to get it in the rental center because you have to rent a fogger to put it on. But basically it’s a new, nontoxic material that has a formula that sort of encapsulates the mold and the fungus and so it will inhibit any mold growth. So it’s OK on the wood wall and it’s OK on the block wall as well. So if you want to be extra safe and make sure that you nip it in the bud, if it’s getting started, you might want to do the mold treatment down there. But also, don’t forget to pay attention to those drainage issues because that is the source of many, many mold problems.
LESLIE: Look at your overlaps on the viscuine that you’ve laid down on the floor. When you’re butting up the seams or laying two joints together you want to make sure that you really overlap one piece over the other by a good two feet so you’re not getting any sort of leakage through there as well.
TOM IN ALASKA: Painting that like with KILZ or something after I treat it, after I fog like the floor joists and the bottom of the flooring above – you know the …
TOM: Generally you don’t paint your floor joists and I don’t really think that that’s necessary. I think if you control the moisture, do one treatment, you should be good to go.
TOM IN ALASKA: Great. Hey, appreciate it, guys. Thank you much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Janice in Connecticut and what’s going on with your basement?
JANICE: Well, I had – I have sheetrock in the basement. The basement has been remodeled. And there – it seems to get moisture down there. We do run a dehumidifier but it does still seem to get moisture down there and I wanted to put in a flooring and I wasn’t sure what kind of flooring to put in over the cement that would be the best for basement for looks and for durability.
LESLIE: OK, now Janice, when you say you see moisture, are you seeing water on the floor or do you just feel it in the air?
JANICE: I feel it in the air and sometimes, you know, the smell of dampness and once in a while a little bit on the wall on – you know, if a piece of furniture is up against the wall too close there’s one area where I did see a little bit of darkness on the wall.
TOM: OK, Janice. Well, first things first. Let me give you some tips on how to reduce that moisture and then Leslie can give you some flooring suggestions. When it comes to the moisture, you have total control over that. It usually sources outside your house. So you need to make sure that your gutters are clean and free-flowing; that the downspouts are extending away from the foundation perimeter; and also that the soil around the house is sloping away. If you manage the water on the outside you will have far, far less humidity on the inside.
LESLIE: You’re still going to need to run the dehumidifier but you will see you can control that moisture situation so much more greatly.
Now, for flooring choices it really depends on what kind of style you’re looking for. There’s a laminate flooring which can look like tile; it can look like wood; it can look like slate; it can look like brick. Those are completely made from manufactured plastic. They’re printed in such a way that depending on whatever you pick from the wood to the tile looks very natural. Because they’re plastic they’re really made for a high-moisture situation. If you want something that looks more like a hardwood there’s an option also. It’s something called engineered hardwood and it’s built in a way similar to how plywood is put together, with opposing grains, and then the top layer is the actual hardwood veneer and that’s also excellent for a basement, a bathroom, a kitchen. Totally depends on what your look is and of course you can do tile. Excellent choice; can go right on top of the concrete; great for moisture. So it’s all about your budget and what look you’re going for down there.
JANICE: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Janice. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit and we have got great home improvement advice coming up, including information about the winter. You’re going to find that as it gets colder you’re going to stay inside a lot more and we want to make sure that the air inside your house is healthy. So stick around for some important information.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem tankless water heaters, which qualify for a $300 energy efficient tax credit if purchased before the end of this year. Learn more at Rheem.com. That’s R-h-e-e-m.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. And as fall and winter are upon us here, you know it occurs to me, Leslie, that this is a very beautiful time of year. The leaves change; the snow falls.
TOM: It’s great to look at. But we do spend more and more time inside and when we’re inside we think about the air that we breathe inside that house because according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental risks to public health and inside air, it can be more polluted than outside air.
LESLIE: Even up to 100 times more polluted, which is pretty scary considering you’re about to lock yourself indoors for most of the rest of the year and into next year. That’s why joining us, we’ve got a great guest to talk about indoor air quality and what you can do to make it better. It’s Sean McCarthy. He’s the National Sales Manager for Aprilaire.
SEAN: Thanks for having me.
TOM: So Sean, you know, using an air filtration system on your HVAC system – in your heating, ventilation, air conditioning system – is a good idea but there are a bunch of different filters out there and I think most folks will start with the simple fiberglass filter that I call the pebble stopper because that’s about all that it stops. Can you give us an overview of the filtration options?
SEAN: Well, you’re right. In fact, that fiberglass filter is what most people do to – and that’s really there just to protect their heating/air conditioning equipment to make sure it continues to operate. But it really doesn’t do anything to truly clean the air inside the home. And there’s a broad range of products that will actually clean the air; from things that you can buy at your local hardware or mass merchandiser store, kind of an upgraded one-inch filter, to a full-fledged, whole-home air cleaner like the Aprilaire electronic air cleaner that’ll actually capture 99 percent of all airborne contaminants and truly clean the air inside the home.
LESLIE: Well, Sean, I think it’s interesting. You know, when you say air filters to people most people think I have them; do I need to change them. And you’re right. They range from $1 on up. So what are some of the things besides making full, massive overhauls to your HVAC system that folks can sort of start with to update what already exists?
SEAN: Well, the first thing is to maintain those air filters inside their ductwork. They do need to be replaced. They load up with dust and dirt and then what happens is air begins to bypass and it carries dirt right around the filter. So – and you can get, from your hardware store, a better air filtration product that’ll do a better job. But if you really want to clean the air inside your home to protect yourself from allergies, airborne viruses, dust, bacteria, you need to put a full-fledged whole-home air cleaner in which will require the help of a licensed heating and air conditioning contractor.
TOM: Well, I will give you a testimonial because now we have a hot water system in our house but we also are fortunate to have a ducted central air conditioning system. So what I’m saying is that we don’t have to run air through the ducts in the wintertime because, of course, you wouldn’t air condition then. But what we did was put in one of your whole-house electronic air cleaners. I think we put the Model 5000 in and I will run the air conditioner; not the compressor but just the fan in the wintertime just to clean the air in the house because it pulls out so much dust and even takes out virus-sized particles. It does make a difference on how we feel in the house.
For those folks that don’t have that, what are some other indoor air quality issues that they can be aware of? For example, we hear a lot about offgassing. Is there a way to minimize that?
SEAN: Yeah. Offgassing and any kind of a gas or odor that’s inside the home – other things like radon – need to be dealt with not through air cleaning but through ventilation; bringing fresh air into the home. So if you think about an odor, if you dilute it that odor goes away; you don’t notice it any longer. Offgassing from carpet, formaldehyde is the same way. Ventilation is really the best solution, which can also be done through your local heating/air conditioning contractor; bringing fresh air inside. And that – a lot of times, especially in the winter, we feel kind of cooped up and …
LESLIE: Stuffy even.
SEAN: … we want to freshen up the home to open up the windows. That’s what ventilation will provide all winter long.
LESLIE: Well, I think it’s interesting. You know, most people don’t really take that step to think about the indoor air quality and would you find that if, say, you do utilize a whole-house air cleaner that you’ll feel better health-wise; maybe if you’re asthmatic or if you have allergies or tend to be bronchial and cough-y?
SEAN: Well, yeah, you’ll definitely – from an asthma or allergy standpoint, if you go inside the home; shut the windows and turn your blower on, as you had mentioned, Tom, you will see a dramatic difference in the airborne allergens in your home and if you’re sensitive that will see a lot of relief. But the other things you’ll notice is there’ll be less dust on your furniture. I’m not going to say you won’t have to dust but there will be less dust inside your home. Overall, the home will just be a little bit cleaner.
LESLIE: And the differences, I think, with the whole-house system, you know, we mentioned changing out the filters within your HVAC system. If you’re dealing with a whole-house air cleaner like Aprilaire’s Model 5000, how often do you need to deal with the media that’s responsible for the cleaning?
SEAN: That’s really one of the benefits of a whole-home air cleaner. Filters should be changed every month where the element that actually does the cleaning inside a Model 5000 Aprilaire electronic air cleaner only needs to be replaced once a year.
TOM: We’re talking to Sean McCarthy. He’s the National Sales Manager for Aprilaire and also a guy that knows about indoor air quality.
And Sean, as homes are being built tighter and tighter, do you think it’s going to become more normal to have air-to-air heat exchangers inside the house; in other words, mechanical equipment that actually does bring in that fresh air but allows us to trap some of the heat before it goes out?
SEAN: Absolutely. We do need fresh air. When we live inside a very tight home, there has to be some mechanical way to bring fresh air in. The builders have done a great job building a much more energy efficient home but it can actually get too energy efficient and so an air-to-air heat exchanger that will bring fresh air into the home and recover the energy used to heat that so you don’t use an energy drain is a much more popular product today than it was, say, five or ten years ago.
TOM: Great advice from Sean McCarthy, the National Sales Manager of Aprilaire. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Sean.
SEAN: Thanks for having me.
TOM: If you’d like more information on the products that Sean mentioned you can go to Aprilaire’s website at Aprilaire.com.
LESLIE: Alright, thanks, Sean McCarthy.
Well, after you’ve been stuck inside your house all winter you might get tired of looking at that dirty grout in your kitchen or your bath. We are going to have a quick way to help you touch up all of that stained tile grout around your house without any embarrassment, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and what are you doing right now? If you’re working on your home or thinking about heading out to the home center we can help. So call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we talk to you on the air today, you are automatically entered into our random prize drawing this hour and we have a super, kick-butt prize. We are giving away the brand new, four-piece, lithium ion combo kit. It’s from Ryobi. It’s worth 260 bucks. It includes a drill, a circ saw and the coolest thing is that these lithium ion batteries are compatible with anything that you may already own in the Ryobi One Plus line of tools. So it is going to enhance every tool that you’ve got in your shed. So call us right now – our number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT – for your chance to win.
Here’s a handy housekeeping tip just for you. Dingy, dirty grout? If it’s bumming you out here is how you can solve it. You can actually dye your tile grout. That’s right. You can dye it.
LESLIE: I know. It’s pretty cool.
TOM: Yeah, with a great selection of colors. But first you have to clean it with a good household cleaner. Use a stiff brush and make sure it’s completely dry before applying the colorant. But you’ll be really happy with the results because if it looks dingy it could look bright again; you can, you know, darken it a bit if maybe you want to make it …
LESLIE: So you never see the dinge anymore? (chuckling)
TOM: You know, yeah. Choose the dirt color; tan or something and the dirt-friendly tan; you know, whatever color you want. But you can dye it and that’s going to be so much more effective than just trying to suck all of that color out of it; the dirt that’s got into it over the years because sometimes can’t do so you leave it; you live with it; and you put the dye on top of it and it looks great all over again like a newly installed tile job.
LESLIE: Yeah, and it’s like an instant bathroom makeover.
TOM: Yeah, because the tile never wears out; only the grout is what makes it look old.
LESLIE: And surprisingly, changing the grout color – even if it’s a (inaudible) shade of white or gray or a tan or a super adventurous color, it changes the look of the tile completely. So if you’re bored with that bath and you’re tired of cleaning it’s a great solution.
TOM: 888-666-3974. We are the solution to your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Call us right now.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Alright, Mary in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on with your squeaky floors?
MARY: Alright, I live in a condo complex and the unit above me has this very, very, very loud squeaky floor.
LESLIE: Oh, so they’re not even your squeaky floors. (Tom chuckles)
MARY: No, they’re not mine. They’re in the unit above mine.
TOM: Do you get along with your neighbor otherwise?
MARY: Well, I really don’t know the owner.
TOM: Oh, OK. This is a problem.
TOM: Because all of the repair advice that we can give you, Mary, requires entry into the unit above …
TOM: … and work on those floors. Do you happen to know what kind of floors they have? Are they carpeted floors?
MARY: Hardwood floors, yes.
TOM: Hardwood floors. OK. Well, you know, when you have hardwood floors and they’re squeaky, the way you repair them is by making them a little tighter because typically they get loose.
TOM: And so, with a hardwood floor, if I could identify the squeak area, there’s two ways to fix it. Number one is you could take a hot dipped, galvanized finish nail and the reason I say hot-dipped is because it’s a fairly rough surface.
TOM: You first have to pilot drill out a hole in the floor and then you drive that nail through and you have to make sure you’re directly on top of a floor joist.
TOM: That tightens that up. A better way to do it if you’re a little more handy when it comes to woodworking is to drill a hole in the floor, countersunk for a wood plug, and then you simply screw the floor down then plug it and then refinish that little spot.
But those are the types of invasive procedures that you really have to own the house to do. In your case, it’s really going to require access. So, what you might want to do is talk to the condo association and see if between you, the condo association and the neighbor upstairs you can kind of have a bit of a truce and let one of the condo maintenance people get in there and do a bit of work on the floors and perhaps quiet it down for you. I will tell you that it’s kind of difficult because you’re sort of always chasing that squeak around the floor a bit; especially with hardwood. It’s actually easier to get rid of the squeaks if it’s simply carpet over a subfloor. But that’s probably the best situation. So this is a little home repair and a lot of negotiation, in this case, Mary. OK?
MARY: Alright. Well, I just wanted to ask you one more question. I understand there are three different levels, from the engineer’s report that was taken here. One was that it could be above my ceiling, which I would be responsible for; if it’s above my ceiling. The other would be at the level above that and then there would be the level of the unit owner above me. So there are three different …
TOM: OK, well listen. What you’re talking about is the property line and when you own a condominium …
TOM: … there’s a line that defines what’s your responsibility and what’s not your responsibility to fix.
LESLIE: But I can’t imagine something above your ceiling, meaning subfloor and flooring of the above apartment, would be Mary’s responsibility.
TOM: Well, it’s interesting, Leslie, because it really depends. In some cases – like I had a condo once where my owned property was like inside sheetrock to inside sheetrock. Basically, I own the space inside the walls. The frame of the building was owned by the condominium association and then the guy above would obviously own from inside sheetrock like to his floor. And with that type of ownership the association was kind of ensuring for all the structure …
TOM: … instead of a normal homeowner’s policy and you were essentially ensuring for contents as well as appliances and kitchen cabinets and things like that. But all of these associations have different levels of ownership and that line and understanding where that line is in terms of where your ownership stops and the association starts or the next owner starts after that, that’s what makes the difference. And when it comes to this very practical problem of a squeaky floor, you know, it can become pretty super-complicated. That’s why I say this is a little bit home repair and a lot of negotiation and fortunately it’s not a hard thing to fix. You’re just going to have to try to get all of the parties together and see if you can get them to cooperate on getting it fixed.
Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, got a window that won’t stay up in your house? That is Pat’s question. We’re going to tackle that when we open our e-mail bag, 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. The website is MoneyPit.com. The telephone number 888-MONEY-PIT. You can jump onto the website, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us an e-mail question if perhaps you don’t have time to pick up the phone; don’t want to drive you off the road there; you’re a little too busy. Just send it on over later. We will try to get back to you as best we can, including answering some of those right here on the program.
Let’s get right to that e-mail bag.
LESLIE: Okey-dokes. First up we’ve got Pat in Fargo, North Dakota who writes: ‘I removed the weight bells from the double-hung windows. What can I incorporate into the windows to still hold them up without a stick? I did so for insulation of the windows.’ Oh, I see
TOM: So, in other words you took the weights out from the old double-hung windows …
TOM: … and probably filled the cavity with insulation. OK, well that’s one way to do it. Probably the best thing that you could have done, Pat, is to put in a replacement window; which means you would have taken out both the weights and the window sashes and slipped the new window inside and believe it or not they’re not so expensive these days. You can buy them for probably as little as a couple hundred bucks.
But since you now don’t have any windows that are staying up because you disabled the mechanism, another thing that you can do is you can pull out those sashes and they have spring-loaded sashes that sort of trap or sort of squeeze the single …
LESLIE: Oh, like squeeze to the outsides.
TOM: Yeah, exactly, and sort of squeeze it and hold the windows up. But to do that you have to pull out the actual operable sashes. So you remove those; you put in the spring-loaded jamb; slip it back in and you’re good to go.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got another one here from Nick in Houston who writes: ‘We’ve been caught off guard by the last few storms so I want to get our aging roof replaced before there’s a major problem. One of the estimates we got advised that we’ll need to ‘weather tape’ our roof if we want to be sure it’ll stand up to a severe storm. Is weather taping just contractor jargon or is there really something to this?’
TOM: Yeah, technically known as weather scotch-taping. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) Comes in a little roll. You’ll need about 1,000 of them.
TOM: You know, it is contractor jargon. Tape, in this instance, is probably speaking about flashing.
TOM: You know, it used to be the flashing was just metal but now it’s flexible and yes, it does come in rolls and so they often call it weather taping. It means to flash your home’s leak-prone areas from the impact of water. So where would this be? This would be, for example, where the plumbing vents come through the roof or where the roof intersects with the side wall or around windows or doors and other places. Flashing is used both on the siding as well as on the roof space, too. And so what the contractor is talking about is simply adding the flashing which, of course, is a necessary part of the roof replacement. So I don’t know why he’s citing it out as special but maybe it’s just because he like to use big words.
LESLIE: (chuckling) He wants to be confusing.
TOM: Yeah, if you’re going to use flashing, probably you’re going to want to look at one of the high-tech ones like the products from Grace. There’s Vycor Plus which is for door and windows and there’s Roof Detail Membrane which helps you with those crevices around the roof. Details on that are available on our website as well as on the website for Grace Construction at GraceAtHome.com.
LESLIE: And you know what, to just clear up the confusion, Nick, you might just want to – next time you meet with your contractor – say, ‘So by taping, do you mean flashing? Well, let’s talk about these other products.’ This way you know exactly what you’re getting. There’s not going to be any confusion and you can make sure that you get the best product for the job; for your climate and you’ll be really happy.
TOM: Yeah, you know, one great way to get the respect of your contractor is to know their jargon.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: They won’t pick on you that way.
LESLIE: That’s true.
TOM: (chuckling) This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Coming up next week on the program, believe it or not it’s time to get ready for the holiday season.
LESLIE: Hooray, I love it. I’m so excited.
TOM: You love this season, don’t you?
LESLIE: I do, I love it.
TOM: Well, you might be pulling together those final details for travel plans. You know who else is pulling together their final holiday details? The burglars. They’re getting ready to strike. The holidays are a big time. People are away. The burglars come out to play. It’s peak time. We’re going to make sure you know how to keep your home and valuables safe. Find out next week on The Money Pit.
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 2 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.)