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: We are broadcasting a very special edition of The Money Pit today from Boston. We’re at AARP’s Life at 50 Plus event. And there are all kinds of things going on here to help Americans stay safer, more comfortable and more secure at any age but particularly as they get older.
LESLIE: Yeah, this is really a great event. There are hundreds of exhibitors highlighting cutting edge technologies, travel and leisure, entertainment, food. You name it, it’s here. But we’re here focusing on what you can do for your parents either in their own home or if maybe they’re moving in with you. We’re going to talk about the changes you can make so that everyone is more comfortable and safer. That’s what’s most important.
TOM: We’ve got a lot to tell you about this hour, including a few design elements for your bathroom; some must-haves for optimum safety. If you are remodeling a bathroom for you or your parents or anyone because your parents are moving in, we’re going to give you some ideas you’ll want to keep in mind. For example, doorway widths and counter heights, simple things like that that you can do to make that bathroom safer.
LESLIE: And we’re also going to tell you about the one thing that you might never even think about putting in your bathroom but it could actually save your life. We’ll tell you what that is in just a little bit.
TOM: Also this hour, a great guest coming up. Organizing guru Peter Walsh is going to join us. You’ve seen him on Oprah and on the TLC show Clean Sweep. He’ll be asking about why your parents’ house is so cluttered and what you can do about it to help sort through that stuff.
LESLIE: And one caller that we talk to this hour today is going to win a blower vac from Homelite. It’s worth 99 bucks and it is the perfect tool for all of your autumn yard care needs.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright, we have got Joe from Texarkana, Texas who’s got a question about reverse metering.
JOE: Thank y’all.
LESLIE: What can we do for you?
JOE: Well, [folks they] (ph) I want an explanation or definition of what reverse metering is first. But what I was wondering what’s the best means of creating your own electricity and how profitable is it? And …
TOM: OK, good questions. First …
LESLIE: Joe wants to get off the grid.
TOM: I see that. (chuckling) No, he wants to start his own little power company, which is a great idea.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, it’s interesting because if you put in solar-power or energy sort of efficient energy and you start creating enough energy at your own property that it sort of reverses back to your energy provider then you get a credit. That’s the whole idea behind reverse metering.
TOM: That’s right. And that’s going to change from utility to utility. So first thing you have to find out is whether or not your existing utility has a reverse metering program. Basically, what it means is if you’re self-generating …
LESLIE: Because not all do.
TOM: … electricity that you will actually be able to generate more than what you need. And then those periods of times when you’re generating excessive electricity that goes back to the power company through a reverse metering switch type of thing.
TOM: Kind of similar to a transfer switch that you would use if you had, say, a backup generator.
LESLIE: Now, in Texas it seems like abundant sunshine solar panels would probably be the most efficient and the most earning as far as energy is considered.
TOM: Well, the first thing I would definitely be thinking about is a solar hot water system.
TOM: One that can supply heat on chillier nights and also, of course, take care of all your domestic hot water. Now, that’s usually pretty affordable. When you use the sun to generate electricity and you have these photovoltaic cells, that gets a little bit pricey.
TOM: But having said that, there are a lot of credit programs where there are credits that are available; either tax credits or other sorts of incentives.
LESLIE: Because they’re encouraging you to create these energy-saving decisions. And it’s also good for the environment. And Joe, there’s also, rather than those enormous solar panels that you would see sort of lift-mounted on a roof surface, there are even some that look exactly like your existing roof shingles that just replace certain shingles. And those act as the photovoltaic cells as well.
TOM: That’s right. Joe, you also should take a look at wind energy …
TOM: … because depending on whether or not you have an area that would be good for wind energy that’s another way to generate it. So there’s a lot of options, Joe. And thanks so much for thinking about making a green contribution to the environment.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are actually broadcasting from Boston, Massachusetts today. We’re on the road at the AARP Life at 50 Plus event. We’re here to talk about how to make your house safer and more comfortable as you age. And we have a question on the line from Michelle in Iowa. She has a question about heights for countertops.
Hi, Michelle. How can we help you?
MICHELLE: Yes, I’m in the beginning stages of remodeling a kitchen for my elderly parents, one of whom is wheelchair bound. And I’m wondering if there’s an overall proper height of countertop for a wheelchair-bound person.
LESLIE: Well, I think for countertops you want to look at – traditionally is it 30 inches on a …
LESLIE: On traditional.
TOM: Thirty-four. Well, traditional is about – well, the cabinet’s 34-1/2; the countertop’s about 36.
TOM: So it’s a bit lower. But more importantly is the access underneath the countertop.
TOM: So you want to try to find an area, Michelle, where you can allow access underneath so that the chair could be slid underneath it so …
LESLIE: So that you can have a work surface right in front of you at that point.
TOM: So it could be a countertop that has a space where the chair can go in or it could be a cantilever situation …
TOM: … like you might create with like a pass-through. You know, where you have a countertop that is hung across an archway?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And there are lots of options even if you’re looking into – you know, upper cabinets are going to become completely unusable for this relative that’s moving in. So look at cabinets that have inserts in them. And this is something that you can retrofit into your existing kitchen cabinets. So the upper cabinets, when you open them up, the shelves will pull down by one handle. And they might not be accessible from the wheelchair but with a grabber or a hook you can grab that, pull it down and then you’ll be able to reach everything. It’s just a little extra thing to think about.
TOM: You know, there’s also some cool appliances that I saw at this event. And there were two. Actually, one was a dishwasher that wasn’t the standard dishwasher. It was a dishwasher in drawers. So it took the same 24-inch width that you had for a standard dishwasher but instead of having one door it had two drawers. Couple of advantages there. First of all, it’s easier to load dishes when you’re working with a drawer. Secondly, you can do half a load.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Also …
TOM: And not use as much water.
LESLIE: You know, speaking of drawer-situation appliances, there’s drawer-size or drawer-mounted microwaves as well. So that will put something directly within reach as well.
TOM: And the other thing is the microwaves that are actually mounted under the countertop; not over the countertop but under …
TOM: … so it’s easier to get stuff in and out. So there’s a lot of innovation in kitchen design, Michelle, but the answer to your question is 34 inches with space to get underneath that countertop. That’s going to be the key (INAUDIBLE).
LESLIE: And if, for some reason, you’ve got any plumbing pipes exposed under there, cover them up so you don’t get any scalding situations accidentally.
TOM: Michelle, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, it’s official. The kids are back in school and that leaves you with plenty of time to do some work around the house. 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, will you be able to safely use your tub, toilet and shower as you get older? Some bathroom safety guidelines, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And we are broadcasting a very special edition of The Money Pit today from Boston. And believe me, it is no tea party.
TOM: Although there are a lot of very colonial-looking people walking around here.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s funny because the event has an entire colonial theme to it so there are scrolls and there are costumes. (Tom chuckles) It’s really fantastic.
In fact, we’re taking part in a huge event held by the folks at AARP called Life at 50 Plus. And there are lots of things going on geared towards Americans as they approach their golden age. But we’re here to focus on your parents. We want to help you help them grow old gracefully in their home or maybe even yours.
TOM: For example, some planning now and simple changes will make your bathroom more convenient and safe. Couple of things to think about. The doorway to your bathroom should be at least 32 inches wide and the door should open out. And here’s a little trick of the trade. If your door does not open out or if it’s not 32 inches wide, one way to pick up an extra two inches is by using offset hinges. These are special hinges that can replace your existing hinges that helps your door pull away an extra two inches as you open it …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. So it actually opens outside of the frame itself.
TOM: Yes, exactly. And also make sure it can be able – it can unlocked from the outside. The floor should have nonstick surfaces. And for more great tips like this you can visit the website for AARP.org/HomeDesign. That’s AARP.org/HomeDesign.
LESLIE: Alright, we have a great guest on the line. It is James Lundy and you might remember him from TLC’s In a Fix but he is working with me currently on a new show on the WE network called The Ugliest House on the Block. And I’m very happy to say that he’s got a new show for HGTV called Rip and Renew, which is actually premiering October 7th.
Welcome, James Lundy, my Australian friend.
JAMES: G’day, gorgeous. What’s going on?
LESLIE: How are you doing?
JAMES: I’m very well, thanks. I’m very well. I’m actually currently working on the show right now doing voiceovers in the studio.
LESLIE: Well, wonderful.
TOM: Now, James, I understand that you’re expecting yourself and probably you’re going to be doing some home improvements to make your house a bit more accessible for kids, huh?
JAMES: Exactly. I actually have a bouncing baby boy that is going to be delivered on Wednesday.
LESLIE: It’s very exciting. His name is going to be Ceda (sp). Because he’s a carpenter.
TOM: Great name. It’s better than sawdust.
LESLIE: Exactly. So James (James laughs) – James, what are some of the things that …
LESLIE: You’re so funny. What are some of the things that you’re doing around your home or that you recommend to your clients when you’re hired out on a contracting job to sort of make things more user friendly, you know, that are still gorgeous and attractive at the same time?
JAMES: Well, there are a couple of things you could do. I mean I think maintenance is the key whenever you’re introducing something new to the home as a baby or even if you’re, you know, maybe getting your grandparents around; someone that like shuffles his feet and spends a lot of time on their hands and knees. So, the first thing I actually did was went around to all my floors, making sure that all the nails were punched in and a nice, smooth surface so that, you know, there won’t be any injuries.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Which is true because even something so simple like a nailhead or a staple that may have been left from a carpet you removed can trip up someone who does sort of drag their feet slightly.
TOM: And it’s also about perspective, you know, because these improvements are also going to make the home safer for kids. With your little boy on the way – you know, the last time I did a news segment on child safety we put a camera on a little wagon.
TOM: A little red wagon.
JAMES: Oh, wow.
TOM: And moved it around the house so that you could actually see what the kid was seeing at two feet off the ground.
JAMES: That’s a really good idea.
TOM: You can have it, James. (laughing)
JAMES: Well, I might [knock at that] (ph). No, Leslie’s the person that (INAUDIBLE).
LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, what are some of the other things; especially if you’re thinking about, you know, a major remodel? You know, how hard is it and what do you recommend to clients as far as, you know, widening doorways or creating threshold-free baths? Are you finding more demand for things like this?
JAMES: Well, I’ll tell you what I find people are really, really interested in (INAUDIBLE) and that is pocket doors.
TOM: Now there’s a good idea.
JAMES: Yeah, well see no one really thinks of a pocket door going in a residential building or a home. They always think of pocket doors as something that’s in a – you know, like in the industrial area or a bathroom.
JAMES: But they’re huge space savers. When you have a pocket door you have no swing space. So you can utilize smaller rooms with things like wheelchairs, walkers. Or if you’ve got your hands full (INAUDIBLE). (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: (chuckling) You’re always saying these Australian terms and I’m like, ‘What is this guy talking about?’
TOM: James, when it comes time to …
JAMES: (INAUDIBLE) a little kid. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: James, when it comes to putting in a pocket door, structurally you basically have to have a header that’s about twice as wide, is that correct?
JAMES: Well, it really depends on what is above the door. If it’s a load-bearing wall the header will definitely have to be of load-bearing capability. Now, if you’re putting a pocket door in a non-load-bearing wall and, say, your wall is [made out of] (ph) 2x4s, you probably only need to put a couple of 2x4s on an edge. That should take the load. Because it’s not spanning very far and it only needs to pick up the track system.
LESLIE: And that’s a really easy fix. And would you recommend that being a do-it-yourself or you really sort of get into a wishy-washy situation; especially considering the structural nature?
JAMES: Well, as far as do-it-yourself, it is do-it-yourself as long as you do have some experience. Because there are a couple of things involved. You’ll need drywall. You’ll need to do some framing. And you need to do some finishing touches like the spackle and the paint. So it’s fairly involved. But I think that it adds a lot of character and value to your house.
LESLIE: True. Now we, James and I, have been doing an exterior makeover show all summer down in Florida. What are some of the approaches we should think about down in the exterior of the house; you know, as far as walkways and pathways and thresholdless entrances to sort of help in that accessible nature?
JAMES: Well, I think that easy access front door is a big key to selling a place. Remember, Leslie, we did one of the shows and you poured the new front walkway and you made the front door so that it actually had no steps? I think that was a wonderful thing to tie the doorway to the front yard.
LESLIE: Yeah, there’s tons of things that you can do and James has been an excellent carpenter and we’re so excited for you to welcome your son next week. And we’re happy and proud and we wish you and your wife the best and much success always and good luck with the shows.
JAMES: Thank you very much and just a little plug. Everybody out there remember the 7th of October at 10:30 a.m.; Rip and Renew.
TOM: Alright, Rip and Renew.
LESLIE: Alright, I’m tuning in.
TOM: James Lundy, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show broadcasting from Boston, Massachusetts at the Life at 50 Plus AARP convention where we are talking about ways to make your house safer and more accessible. All of those great home improvement projects that don’t have to cost a boatload of money but can really make your house sharp.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got a caller on the line. We’ve got Brian from Montana who’s got a water pressure situation.
Brian, what’s going on at your house?
BRIAN: Good morning. Thank you for taking my call.
TOM: [Our pleasure] (ph).
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) You’re so welcome.
BRIAN: What the problem has been was the pressure to my pressure tank has only had about 20 pounds of pressure. And so, you know, there’s just nothing coming out. And I’ve gone through and I’ve changed the filter and everything else and nothing seems to make the pressure come back up to what it was.
TOM: OK, this pressure tank itself now, is it a bladder type tank?
BRIAN: I’m sorry?
TOM: Is it a bladder type tank?
BRIAN: Yes it is.
TOM: OK. And when you turn the water on the pump pumps up to 20 pounds and then cuts out?
BRIAN: Correct. Well, no. I don’t know if the pump cuts out or not because the pressure switch isn’t cutting out. It’s just closed.
TOM: Alright, well what you’re going to have to do is isolate this problem to try to figure out if it’s the tank – perhaps it’s a waterlogged tank – or if it’s the well pump itself. Is the well pump above ground or below ground?
BRIAN: Below ground.
TOM: Alright. What’s going to probably have to happen is you’re going to have to disconnect the main water line from the pressure tank and basically block it. Turn it off at a valve before that. And then run the well pump and see what pressure it comes up to. If you don’t have a pressure gauge before that you may have to install them. We need to know that the problem is with the well. I mean it could be that there’s a problem with the well and this is the way it’s evidencing itself. If it turns out that you have adequate pressure there that’s actually good news because that means there’s a problem with – there’s a restriction somewhere else; for example, with the pressure tank itself. And that would involve, at the worst-case scenario, a replacement of that tank.
You say you’ve checked it in the filtration systems. You may want to take the filtration system out of the loop by activating the bypass valve, if it has one, or simply replumbing it so it goes around that. You need to basically isolate this. It’s kind of like when you’re trying to fix a problem on your computer.
TOM: You do one thing. You check that off the list.
LESLIE: See if it works.
TOM: You do another thing. You check that off the list. And you’ve got to sort of back into where this problem is occurring. Make sense to you, Brian?
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. I just came back from Bozeman, Montana.
LESLIE: Did you?
TOM: Gorgeous, gorgeous country out there. Yep.
LESLIE: What a coincidence.
Alright, we’ve got another caller on the line. We’ve got Bob calling from Pine Brook who’s got an HVAC question.
Welcome, Bob. What can we help you with?
BOB: Yeah, good morning. Yeah, good afternoon.
I have a heating and air conditioning in one unit. I guess I got the air conditioning coil inside? And the problem is I have four-inch ducts. And it – you know, it doesn’t work very well. I’m wondering what I can do with that besides, you know, replacing all the ducts.
TOM: Do you have a high-velocity system? Is this a SpacePak system?
BOB: You know, I don’t know.
TOM: OK. Well, the only type of air conditioning system that works on four-inch ducts is a high-velocity, low-volume system.
LESLIE: Are they round? The four-inch ones would be round ducts, correct?
TOM: (overlapping voices) They’re round ducts. They’re about the size of a dryer exhaust duct.
BOB: Oh, yeah.
LESLIE: Yeah, then that’s definitely …
BOB: Yeah, exactly.
TOM: But typically that’s only for air conditioning; not for heating. So I can’t quite understand what kind of system you have. I need more information to be able to tell you. Is this a question where it’s not adequately supplying both heated and cooled air or is it one more than the other?
BOB: Oh, the heat works just fine. It’s the cold that doesn’t get through.
TOM: Well, the other thing that may happen here is – what this – do you think this may have been converted; where initially it was just heat and then somebody added an air conditioning system to it? Because …
BOB: [It sounds like it] (ph).
TOM: …what sometimes happens is that, Bob, when you have a heating system and it was installed in the house originally to only heat the house, somebody comes in; decides to convert that to central air conditioning. The one thing that they don’t do is make the ducts bigger. When you have air conditioning the ducts have to be bigger than when you have heat.
TOM: So if that’s the situation it may be that you need to redesign these ducts; have some new ductwork put in.
LESLIE: So would you recommend bringing in an HVAC contractor …
LESLIE: … to sort of assess the situation; find out where this duct system is failing and what changes can be made to modify your existing system. And hopefully you don’t have to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch.
TOM: How old is the house, Bob?
BOB: Oh, it’s at least 30, 40 years.
TOM: Well, this may be the situation. You need to get an expert opinion on this. But I suspect that what’s happened here is that you have ducts that were not big enough for the air conditioning.
Bob, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got another one. Rick from Evansville, Indiana; installing a tankless water heater.
Rick, how can we help you?
RICK: Hi, how are you?
LESLIE: Good, how’s it going?
TOM: We’ve got about a minute.
RICK: Thank you for taking my call.
I have a home built about 1950 and I was considering – we’re remodeling the utility room. We’re considering putting a gas tankless water heater in.
TOM: That’s an excellent, excellent idea, Rick. We’ve got just a couple of seconds here. Let me just give you the quick info on tankless.
Great idea. Gas is the way to go. Make sure when it’s installed that the gas lines are correctly sized. They have to be bigger than a standard water heater line but they use a little bit more gas for less time. So overall you’ll have a lot of savings. And also, when it comes to kids, great product. You can dial down the temperature to a safe level at just an instant.
Back with more, after this.
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, I do a lot of traveling and I spend a lot of time in hotels.
LESLIE: And I have to tell you I’ve seen it in a lot of high-end hotels and even regular hotels: bathroom phones. And while I’m on vacation I’ve enjoyed using them and their convenience. But have you ever thought about having a phone in your bathroom at home? You know, it might seem like an unnecessary luxury but it’s not a bad idea actually. A phone can bring fast help if you slip and fall in the bathroom. But you want to make sure that you choose a phone that will be there for you in any emergency. Don’t pick a portable phone because you might find that you’re carrying it around the house and then leave it somewhere else. A wall phone is going to be your best bet. And be sure to hang the phone near your shower, your tub or the toilet. And choose a place that you can reach the phone even if you’re lying on the floor. This is the type of emergency we’re talking about. And don’t forget to store those important phone numbers in the phone itself. And just make sure that you don’t use the phone while you’re in the tub or standing in the water because, remember, it’s electric, folks and if you get it wet you could give yourself quite a little shock.
TOM: And if you’re using the phone, say, for a non-emergency reason – just to call somebody and you’re in the bathroom – just keep that to yourself, will you? (laughing)
LESLIE: (chuckling) Wait til you’re done and then flush.
TOM: We are broadcasting a special edition of The Money Pit today from AARP’s Life at 50 Plus event in Boston. We’re here in Beantown, the birthplace of the American Revolution. It’s a great city with a lot of history. But we’re here looking toward the future.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. And the folks at AARP are hosting this huge event. It really is gi-normous. And they do it every single year to celebrate the life in the golden years and learn how you can make the most of them. They’ve got financial experts; travel and leisure tips; and of course, our area of expertise, your home.
TOM: And there are a lot of exhibitors here with very innovative products that help make things safer, comfortable, more convenient. We’re going to talk with one right now. Her name is Laura Highler (sp). She’s here with a product called Jenda. And I like this product, Laura, because this is a voice calendar.
Now, in my house, I’m sort of the computer wiz and the rest of my family not so much. And so we have this paper calendar where one of the tasks of the day is which one of my three kids is going to do the dishes that night …
LAURA: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: … because that’s one of their chores. And they’re always, you know, writing on the calendar and trying to erase each other’s name and stack the deck and stuff.
LESLIE: (chuckling) You have to do it in pen, Tom.
TOM: You’ve got a real simple piece of technology that can get any family organized. Talk to us about it.
Yes, Jenda is a lifetime voice calendar and it’s exactly that. I mean it’s going to last you forever. Basically what you’re doing is changing your habit from writing on a little wall – you know, on the tiny little spaces on a wall calendar …
LAURA: … and speaking your appointments, your dates, your birthdays, your anniversaries directly into this piece of simple technology. So the way it works is that you have a display in front of you. It’s about 10 by 12 inches. You select the month of the year; you select the date of the month; and then you simply hold down to record. It’s as simple as saying, ‘I have a 2:00 p.m. doctor appointment today on …’ Well, it wouldn’t be today but let’s say …
LESLIE: Wait, didn’t we record something earlier? Let me press this.
LAURA: We actually recorded something.
VOICE CALENDAR: Today, Saturday, September 8th. Two messages. Today Jenda is going to appear on The Money Pit. (Tom laughs)
LESLIE: Wait, there’s more.
VOICE CALENDAR: (INAUDIBLE) record The Money Pit at 11:00. (Tom and Laura laugh)
LESLIE: Ha. I mean it’s really interesting. This calendar, it’s a good size; the buttons are a good size; it’s easier to read. And I like the fact – you know, when I was a kid and my parents would travel a lot …
LESLIE: … my mom would write me a note to read everyday and it really made me feel …
LESLIE: … like my parents weren’t so far.
LESLIE: And I love this. You know, especially you were saying that folks at the military are really sort of adapting to this because you’re getting parents that are gone for long periods of time.
LAURA: Exactly. This voice calendar is perfect for families, working parents, baby boomers and for military personnel this is wonderful because you often hear about how the children are suffering when mom or dad is away serving their country. So what they would be able to do is let’s say that they’re going to be gone for six months. As frequently as they wish they can simply record, you know, ‘Mom loves you. Remember to do this.’ You know, ‘I’ll be able to give you a call.’
LESLIE: ‘Good luck on that test.’
LAURA: Yes, exactly.
TOM: Aw, that’s a really cool idea.
LESLIE: It’s nice.
LAURA: Little reminders.
LAURA: And the child can play this as often as they wish and hear that parent’s voice.
TOM: Cool piece of …
LAURA: Very comforting.
TOM: Very cool piece of technology.
Laura Highler (sp) with Jenda, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Their website, if you want information, is BuyJenda.com; B-u-y-J-e-n-d-a.com.
Our website is MoneyPit.com, available 24/7/365. You can go there and sign up for the podcast and listen to us whenever you like. Let’s get back to the phones.
Now, we have a call from Joe in the Bronx.
LESLIE: Alright, Joe, what can we do for you?
JOE: Yes, I’m installing a laminate floor on a slab and I was wondering if anything special you have to know about that.
TOM: Actually, no. That’s a perfect application for a laminate floor. There is an underlayment that the laminate floor manufacturer will sell. It’s usually a thin foam mat or it could be sort of like a fibrous mat and that helps to sort of eliminate any of the rough areas of the floor.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But some of the laminate floorings – and I don’t know, Joe, if the one that you purchased actually has it – but some of the laminate floorings have the underlayment built specifically on to the backside so you don’t need to add anything extra. So you need to check …
JOE: Yeah, this one doesn’t have it, though.
LESLIE: This one doesn’t have it. So you want to make sure that you buy an underlayment appropriate for the type of flooring. You’re just going to roll it out and then because your laminate flooring snaps together and is floating, all you have to do is cut it to size, lay it in there and then trim it out so you don’t get that weird open space towards the walls.
TOM: Joe, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, in my parents’ home, Leslie, I jokingly tell my mom she suffers from the TMC disease.
LESLIE: What’s that?
TOM: Too much clutter. So up …
LESLIE: (chuckling) I think everybody’s parents have that.
TOM: So up next we’re going to get some organizing tips to reduce clutter and stay safe from organizing guru, Peter Walsh. That’s coming up.
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, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: A very special edition of the Money Pit program today being broadcast from Boston, site of AARP’s Life at 50 Plus event. This is a huge gathering of folks who are sharing and learning about life in the golden years and everything from food; entertainment; travel and leisure; and, of course, innovative design and home improvement tips to help you stay safe in your home as long as you can.
LESLIE: Yeah, and while that is a great idea, there certainly is a downside to staying in your home as long as you can and that is accumulating all of that stuff over years and years and years. And you’ve seen it, I am sure, at your parents’ house. There are decades worth of stuff in there and that is where our next guest comes in.
TOM: Peter Walsh is standing by. He’s been an organizational consultant for more than 10 years and he’s appeared on TLC’s Clean Sweep as well as Oprah. He joins us now with some tips on helping your parents get organized. Peter, why is it that older folks sometime seem to have such a hard time dealing with the clutter?
PETER: You know, guys, it has to do with the fact that at the – you know, you end up with a home full of the accumulation of a whole life. And generally, you know, that’s when you’ve had the kids in the home; you know, all the important events of your life. And then suddenly the empty-nesters or older people look around and think it’s time to downsize and that’s often when it gets just a little tough.
TOM: You know, it’s interesting. We are actually broadcasting on the floor and right across from us is a service that is designed to empty all the junk out of your house. We know that there’s others that are …
LESLIE: And Peter?
TOM: … advertised naturally. And this seems to be a trend.
LESLIE: Peter, there are pictures of rooms that they’ve worked on before and they are filled from floor to ceiling (audio gap) wide. (Tom laughs)
PETER: Let me give you an insight into something. Next week I’m starting working on a home. It’s older people looking to downsize. Thirty-two-hundred square feet. They have 200 square foot of living space (Tom and Leslie laugh) including they’ve drained the swimming pool so they have a place to store stuff.
TOM: Oh, wow.
LESLIE: (gasping) Get out of town.
TOM: Alright, so where do you begin when you have a house that’s like that, Peter? How do you help people identify priorities and understand what to keep and what to toss?
LESLIE: How do you get people to throw stuff out?
PETER: You know, it’s really interesting because I work with a lot of younger people who are helping their parents downsize. And the big thing is do not get into arguments with them. The moment you start arguing about the stuff you’ve lost – it’s not – nothing’s going to happen. You’ll end up just bitter, angry and, you know, estranged eventually from your parents. You need to empathize with them; help them focus on what’s important; and pull out the pieces that have the strongest memory for the couple and then focus on that positive stuff rather than losing your cool and eventually losing your mind.
TOM: And Peter, is there gold in those hills? (Peter chuckles) Are there opportunities to maybe sell some of this stuff and make a bit of a return on your investment?
PETER: You know, that’s one of the problems; that generally our parents see value in stuff where we do not. And that can – well, and vice versa, too, I guess. You know? The struggle is people need to understand (audio gap) a place like eBay is a great place to get some money for stuff; particularly vintage stuff or stuff you haven’t used.
TOM: That’s a great idea because you know, we think of this as just simply being limited to the garage sale and whoever happens to come by. And I love whenever you have a garage sale. You have all of the bargain hunters that come at like 6:00 in the morning.
PETER: Yeah, yeah.
LESLIE: The early bird special.
TOM: Yeah. And they offer you, you know, two bucks or something that you have marked for 20 bucks.
LESLIE: And it’s 4:00 a.m. and they’re ringing your doorbell. (Peter laughs)
TOM: Yeah. Yeah. Let’s do it virtually through eBay.
PETER: The thing is, guys, that garage sales are not the place to make money. You will never make money there. Garage sales are only to get rid of the stuff; get the stuff out of the house. And you know, my advice is they’re great for decluttering but if you want to get a good tax write-off donate to charity or, if you’d like to make a little bit of money, eBay is the place.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now Peter, if you’re not in sort of a situation where things are just full to the brim of things that are, you know, are unorganized in clutter, if you’re at a more normal situation is there one room in the house where you would really recommend starting with your organization or something that you pay attention to?
PETER: (overlapping voices) Yeah, you know, the place – it sounds interesting. The place to start, first of all, is to ask your parents to recount the best times of their life – the great memories, the best achievements – and then go through the house and find items that help them to best remember those times. So …
LESLIE: Oh, that’s nice.
PETER: Yes. So start first with the important times and events and memories rather than with the objects.
TOM: With the stuff.
PETER: That’s exactly – don’t start with the stuff. And two, also look first at where they’re moving so that then you can take stuff from the existing home that will fit within the space limitations that you have.
TOM: And that gives you good movement; good momentum going forward …
TOM: … because now you’ve already emptied out your house partially …
TOM: … in terms of things that you’re going to move.
Now, Peter, let’s say that we get ourselves cleaned up and better organized, any tips for keeping the family organized from that point forward?
PETER: You know, it’s – particularly as parents get older, you know, memory joggers are a great idea. And you know, I’ve just finished a whole national tour talking with people about message centers in the home; something as simple as, you know, a dry erase board or a bulletin board somewhere public where they can jot down important schedule things; appointments; anniversaries; birthdays. And if you go to Quartet.com, for example, there are a ton of ideas there …
PETER: … for parents and their kids to really streamline information through the home.
TOM: Yeah, it’s really just a matter of doing just that; of streamlining it. And I love the fact that once I – once I get around to cleaning off my desk or cleaning out a room (Peter chuckles) you feel so much energy from that. And …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think it’s important to maintain it.
LESLIE: Once you’ve organized yourself – you know, once a month, once a week, tackle that room even if it’s just for five minutes to sort of …
PETER: (overlapping voices) Yeah. You can’t imagine how much clutter sucks the life from a space. And it really – if you want your parents or you want to live kind of less stressed, less out of your mind, (Leslie chuckles) then you need to really declutter a space because once it’s opened up you’ll find that it really opens up your head space as well.
TOM: Excellent. Peter Walsh from TLC’s Clean Sweep, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
That website, again, was Quartet.com. Is that correct?
PETER: That’s correct. That’s correct.
TOM: Thank you, Peter.
PETER: And go to – there’s a ton of other tips at Peter Walsh Design; my own website. And listen, guys, it’s really a matter of maintaining the relationship with your parents first of all and then everything else will follow.
TOM: Great. Peter, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
PETER: Hey thanks, guys. Enjoy Boston and I’ll look forward to talking to you again.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show broadcasting a special edition from Boston, Massachusetts.
Let’s go to the phones and talk to Warren from Kansas with a quick question on concrete floors.
WARREN: Yeah. I was watching the Discovery Channel one time on that Dirty Job’s thing. And they were concrete – doing concrete stamping or concrete – what is that (INAUDIBLE)?
TOM: Stamped concrete.
LESLIE: Yeah, stamped concrete is when you pour just a flat concrete surface and then you go in with a stamping system and sometimes they’re large, vinyl sheets; sometime they’re small pieces that look like tiles. They stamp into the concrete surface and it can look like anything from brick pavers to slate.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, before you tear down those walls we’re going to have a few ideas on where you can start to find those leaks that might be drip, drip, drip, dripping behind those walls. (Leslie chuckles) Coming up, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts where we are helping the AARP spread the message that you can make homes safer and accessible and beautiful all at the same time. We’re at the AARP’s Life at 50 Plus event.
LESLIE: Yeah, live from Boston.
Alright, we’ve got one caller before we get into our e-mail bag. We’ve got Jeff from Marshalltown, Iowa who’s got an issue with cat odor.
Jeff, what can we do for you?
JEFF: Yeah, Tom and Leslie. My wife and I have a couple cats and we just kind of have that smell in our house; that cat smell.
JEFF: And she’s tried everything and nothing seems to work. Was wondering if you guys might have any suggestions as to what else we could try.
LESLIE: You know, there is a great product and we discovered it when we first got our little puppy dog and we were having a hard time training her. But it’s called Just Rite and it’s R-i-t-e. And if you go to their website, JustRite.com, you’ll find all of the products there. And there’s also a product from Oreck and it’s called No Return Spot Remover for stains specifically from pets. So there’s really some good products on the market that will really take care of any of those situations and you can use it on your fabric, on your rugs, all sorts of places.
TOM: Jeff, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You can call that number 24/7/375 or jump onto our website at MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one here from Mike in Illinois who writes: ‘A few months ago we bought a house with a hardy plank siding. Unfortunately, we’re starting to see the beginning signs of water damage around it’s vinyl windows. Taking into account that the hardy plank siding connects directly to the windows, what would you suggest as the best route to go about trimming them?
TOM: Good question. First off you’ve got to make sure that the windows that are – make sure it’s the windows themselves that are leaking; not just the flashing around the windows. If the windows are the culprit and you don’t see any obvious signs of weatherstripping problems your window trim might be the problem. But more likely the leaks are probably caused by the flashing around the windows. Here’s a way that you can sort of fix both.
Assuming that the house is fairly new, your hardy plank siding and the vinyl windows will use what’s called J-channel. It’s attached to the window frames to receive the siding and give it pretty much a finished look.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It sort of butts up behind it, right?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. To trim that out you need to cut the siding around them. To make it easier, try using like a sort of a small handsaw; a battery-operated saw with a concrete blade to cut the hardy plank. And once you’ve gotten to this point it’s a good opportunity to apply a premium self-adhered flashing; one of these high-tech, flexible flashing products like – there’s one from Grace called Vycor Plus that works very well. It goes all the way around the window frames and it’s going to stop those leaks before they actually have a chance to get in.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And there’s actually a great website if you want some more ideas about flashing and window leaks and roof leaks. If you go to GraceAtHome.com you’ll get a lot of information there about how to stop those leaks.
TOM: John from Iowa writes: ‘Our shower upstairs is leaking down to the wall to our basement. I’ve checked everywhere for leaks and it looks like it’s the plumbing somewhere between the shower and the kitchen drain. I don’t know what to do next except to start tearing down the shower (Leslie groans) to see what I can do to find the leak. What’s your suggestion?’
You know, showers are really tricky to diagnose because there are a lot of places that the water can escape. So basically, before you grab that wrecking bar, John, we want to break it down. So here’s where we want to start.
First of all, I want you to check just the drain itself. Now how do you do that? I don’t want you to run the showerhead to do that. I want you to grab a hose and stick it in the drain. If it turns out the drain is not the problem the next thing I want you to do is to plug the drain to make sure that the shower pan is not leaking; that’s that four-inch pan. Now, if that’s not leaking, now we’re getting really easy because the problem is probably a gap in the tile. If you get a little bit of grout, Leslie, that falls out of those tiles …
TOM: … it may not happen unless you’re in the shower because the water splashes off your body …
LESLIE: Splashes off of you and …
TOM: … finds that spot and leaks down. So you need to break it down and isolate it and that will be the solution to the problem.
LESLIE: Alright. Well we want to remind you that the Money Pit podcast is your dose of Tom and Leslie to help cure all of your home improvement headaches and it’s the number one home improvement show on iTunes. If you visit MoneyPit.com and go to Listen you can get in on what everyone is downloading.
TOM: Coming up next on The Money Pit, you’ve heard of landscaping. What about lightscaping? Next week we’re going to talk about using outdoor lighting as a design element.
Want to say thanks to the AARP for hosting us here today.
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.)