TRANSCRIPT FOR SEPTEMBER 7, 2009, HOUR 1
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, where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Take a look around your house. We know there’s a project that you’d like to get done today and we’re here to help you do just that.
Coming up this hour, we’re going to have tips to make sure your do-it-yourself plumbing project is sealed up tight and leak-free. We’ll have your insider’s trick of the trade to make sure that happens for you.
LESLIE: And there’s more ways than one for a house to leak. We’re going to have tips to stop energy and water leaks that may be happening right now through your windows.
TOM: And here at the Money Pit, we remind you to measure twice, cut once and always keep a fire extinguisher handy. But if you follow that advice, you should know that not all fire extinguishers are created equal. We’re going to tell you why you need different types of extinguishers for different rooms in your house.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re giving away an EcoMade bath rug from Shaw and it’s fully recyclable. How awesome is that?
TOM: And it’s worth 25 bucks, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get right to those phones. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Time to talk plumbing with Manny in Hawaii. Aloha. How can we help you?
MANNY: OK, hi. I would like to know – I’ve seen on a television program where they’re installing some copper water lines.
MANNY: And instead of soldering, they’re crimping.
MANNY: And I didn’t know that was possible. How is that …?
TOM: Yeah. It’s actually not called crimping. It’s called pressing. And yeah, there are special fittings that fit on the ends of the copper pipe and then there’s something called a pressing tool which basically surrounds it and does what, in effect, is like a crimp but it makes a mechanical weld. And it’s great. A lot of the pros are going to pressing tools right now. Ridgid makes probably some of the best ones in the business.
LESLIE: And Tom and I actually saw it demonstrated at the Builders Show and the technology is fantastic.
TOM: We actually got a chance to try out pressing.
MANNY: Well, I subscribe to the newsletter from Ridgid but I’ve never seen it on their newsletter yet.
TOM: Yeah, go to Ridgid.com and there’s a whole section there for pressing tools.
LESLIE: Pressing tools.
TOM: And you can read about it.
LESLIE: Lois in New Jersey is dealing with a leaky shower. Tell us about the problem.
LOIS: Well, we recently had our bathrooms updated, not fully gutted. We had a new floor, a toilet and a sink put in. The shower stall was fine so we did nothing to it. But since they did the renovations, we now have a leak in the shower where the door frame of the shower meets the pan of the shower. It leaks out both sides and into a garage area below.
TOM: OK, is this – what kind of shower pan is it? Is it a tile shower pan?
LOIS: No, no. It’s, I guess, a fiberglass.
TOM: Fiberglass. Alright, let me tell you how to test your shower pan because sometimes you can get a crack in them and you can’t see them.
TOM: I want you take a towel or maybe like one of those rubber jar opener things and put it across the drain. Block that drain so no water can get through the drain in the bottom of the shower pan.
TOM: Then fill the pan all the way up with water but don’t let it go over the top. Don’t get it to the door, OK? But fill it all the way up and let it sit there for 10 or 15 minutes and see if you can create a leak. If you can create a leak, you’ve got a cracked shower pan which is not good; you’re going to have to tear the pan out.
LOIS: Can you do that without pulling the tile off the walls?
TOM: But if you have a cracked fiberglass pan, you can repair it with material that you could buy at an auto parts shop; like a Pep Boys or something like that.
If that doesn’t show any leaks, then we’ve got to start working it up the wall here and what I’d like you to do is to see if you can figure out a way of getting a hose or some sort of a spray arm into that shower space. I mean even if you have to run the hose like through an outside window and into the bathroom with some water on it; where you can start to kind of wet down, strategically, different parts of the door. Now don’t overdo it. I mean try to estimate how much water comes out of the normal shower. But remember, when you’re taking a shower, water hits your body and bounces off in all directions.
TOM: And sometimes that can cause a leak where, you just run the shower straight you never get a leak; you step in there and, because water is going off all different places, you get a leak. So you want to kind of strategically work that spray around the shower until you see if you can get it to leak. And you’ve got to really narrow it down and once you do that, you’ll have a better idea as to where the problem is.
And one more thing to check – and it’s kind of silly but make sure that this didn’t happen – if somebody reversed the shower doors, they’re going to leak like crazy.
LOIS: No, they never took it off.
TOM: They never took it off? Because …
TOM: Right. If you think about it, the inside door has to overlap. The door closest to the shower, water itself, has to overlap the outside door. If it’s the other way around – and you can do it – the water is going to shoot right through the seam of the door.
LOIS: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And now that the kids are back at school, we are all going to have a lot more time to work on our house; so let’s give you a hand. So call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, you’ve heard a lot about the tax credits for energy-efficient windows. Well, what exactly do you have to do to reap those tax benefits? We’re going to have the answer to that question, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now. We’re going to give you your home improvement answer. Whatever question you’ve got, I’m sure we can figure it out. We’re also going to give you the opportunity to win a great prize. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT and the prize we are offering is truly a green prize – and I’m not just talking about color. We are giving away the EcoMade bath rug by Shaw and it’s made of type-6 nylon. Now this is the only material that can be recycled into carpeting again and again and again. It’s worth only 25 bucks but it will be around for the rest of our lifetimes. So give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Now, energy-efficient window replacements are a good idea because they do give you an added value to your home. They’re going to reduce your energy bills and it’s going to create an easier lifestyle and, right now, the government will actually help you pay for them. But according to the experts at Simonton Windows and, frankly, based on some of our own observations, there is a fair amount of confusion out there as to which windows qualify for these tax credits, Leslie.
LESLIE: Absolutely. So first things first. What exactly is this tax credit that we are talking about? Now, when taxpayers purchase replacement windows that meet specific energy-efficiency requirements, they are then eligible for up to 30 percent of the amount of the windows purchased returned then as a tax credit. So you’re not going to see it in a check form but when you go to pay your taxes, it gets taken off.
Now the credit is capped at $1,500 for the years of 2009 and 2010 and there are certain restrictions. The windows do have to meet a high energy-efficiency standard.
TOM: That’s right and that standard is generally referred to as the 30/30 standard. The U-factor for the window has to be .30 or higher and the solar heat gain coefficient, which basically measures how much heat from the sun can get through, that has to be .30 or higher. And that label is going to be right smack dab on the front of the window.
Now, I’ve found that the manufacturers – especially the bigger manufacturers – are very good at communicating this information. Some of the smaller companies, some of the remodeling companies that also sell windows sort of on the side, not so much. So you want to really make sure that those windows meet those requirements and if you have any questions, we have a free chapter on MoneyPit.com. We’ve written “The Complete Window Replacement Guide” as a free download to our book, My Home, My Money Pit. That’s on the home page of MoneyPit.com right now. You can simply click on the button, sign up for that chapter and download it and you’ll have all of the information that you need. And we want to thank Simonton Windows for helping us put together this document that really spells it all out and helps you make the right choice in replacement windows.
LESLIE: The confusion ends here, folks. Do your research, be prepared and you will absolutely pick something that does qualify. And good luck on your projects.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get right back to those phones.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Lawrence calling from New York, who’s dealing with a roofing issue. Tell us about it.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, I’m trying to sell my house. I’ve been going around looking at the roof and I thought it needed a new roof but when I got close to it, it was like a scale that’s on the roof. And after checking it – I think they call them lichens (pronounced LEECHINS) – I want to know how to get rid of them.
TOM: Hey Lawrence, I think what you’re talking about are called lichens, not (pronounced LEECHINS).
LAWRENCE: Oh, I was close. (all chuckle)
TOM: You were. And you know, lichens – as well as roof moss and algae – are all roof growths. They all can come off the same way and that is with a good roof cleaning. Not an easy process but not an impossible process. There’s a product out there called Jomax that will work well for you. You mix it with bleach. You apply it, let it sit for a little while and then you can either scrub it off or you could pressure wash it off. Just be really careful with the pressure washer so that it doesn’t – it is not like too terribly intense.
And once you have it off, there’s another trick of the trade that will stop it from coming back and that is to take a strip of copper and place it at the ridge of the roof – at the peak of the roof – all the way down. And what will happen is as the rain hits that, it releases some of the copper and that acts as a natural mildicide. It will keep the roof much cleaner over a longer period of time.
LAWRENCE: That’s great. I’ll give it a shot.
TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to chat with Joan. You’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOAN: Hi. Yes, I have a question for you both, Tom and Leslie.
JOAN: My situation is I have an older brick house built in 1932 and the back portion of the house – the foundation, going up about four feet – is either concrete or marble. In one section, that which is facing southwest, it has darkened – becoming a gray to a dark gray – while the rest of it is kind of a pearly white.
JOAN: And I’m wondering if you could suggest some way I could clean it without damaging it.
TOM: Have you tried pressure washing?
JOAN: No. I was just concerned that might loosen the grout between the blocks.
TOM: Well, you’ve got to do it very carefully. What I would do is I would apply a mildicide and let it sit – you can use a bleach-and-water solution – and then I would …
LESLIE: Which like works instantaneously. It’s really so satisfying.
TOM: Yeah, and then I would follow up with a pressure washer and I would use the wide, gentle setting and just work it very …
LESLIE: And back away from it.
TOM: Work it very slowly and see if you can brighten it up. Typically, all of that concrete – most of that is just moss and mildew and algae that grows in there and dirt that gets in from over the years and when you do pressure wash it actually gets pretty bright pretty quickly.
LESLIE: Glenda, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
GLENDA: Hi. Yes, my boyfriend bought me a wonderful house.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yay.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK, that’s a great boyfriend.
GLENDA: And we’ve pulled up all the old carpet. We have great wood floors but now we also have gaps underneath all the doors in the house.
GLENDA: So I’m trying to find a way that we can close the gaps without replacing the doors because they’re really great doors.
TOM: What kind of heating system do you have, Glenda?
GLENDA: Forced air.
TOM: Forced hot air? OK. And do you have centralized return ducts; like a big duct in the middle of the hall?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) In the hallway?
GLENDA: Yes, we do.
TOM: Well, you should …
LESLIE: You’re going to want to keep that.
TOM: You should keep those gaps. That’s your return air path.
LESLIE: Well, before it was for clearance for the carpeting.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, but it’s – yeah.
GLENDA: (overlapping voices) Yes.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Now that the carpeting is out, you need that air circulation to get to that main return in the hallway; otherwise, you’re going to have to keep the doors ajar.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a good thing for that reason but the other thing is there’s no way to extend those. I mean we could tell you how to take the doors out and rehang them and put them down lower but that would be a complete waste of time.
GLENDA: Oh, no; the doors are so beautiful though and …
TOM: Yeah. Well, how much of a gap are we talking about here? What do you got; like an inch-and-a-half?
GLENDA: Inch-and-a-half or more.
TOM: That’s not so much. (Glenda chuckles) See, you think that when people walk into your house, Glenda, they go, “Oh, it’s a nice house. Oh, my God, look at those gaps!”
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) “Look at those gaps.”
TOM: Nobody really notices them except for you.
GLENDA: That’s probably true, probably true.
TOM: (chuckling) Alright.
GLENDA: So if anyone says anything, I’m just going to tell them that you told me it’s great for air flow.
LESLIE: It is.
TOM: That’s right. You tell them that.
GLENDA: OK. Well, thank you so much for your help and keep up the good work. I love your show.
TOM: Very nice of you to say. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
And how about that boyfriend; buying her a house?
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean some guys just give rings. (Tom chuckles) Houses are equally fantastic.
Ike in Texas has a septic tank issue. What can we do for you today?
IKE: On my septic tank, we have two real long, lateral lines and, for some reason, it looks like somebody walked over to it and poured gas on top of it and made two perfectly long, straight rows of dead grass.
IKE: And that’s the first time – we put that septic tank system in brand new about seven years ago and usually the grass is real thick and green and lush right there.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah. Ike, you guys have had a pretty hot summer there in Texas there, haven’t you?
IKE: Oh, yeah. It’s been – we’ve had days in the hundreds and high-90s here lately.
TOM: You know, the problem with the grass over the septic lines is that the root structure cannot get as deep as it can …
LESLIE: As it would love to be.
TOM: As it can in other areas of the grass. And so, unless you keep it well-watered in those areas on really hot, dry days, it’s going to die out. And as the summer passes and it gets closer to cooler days, then it’s going to come back. That’s most likely what’s happening here because your system is so young. However, I will also tell you or warn you that dead grass can also be a sign of hydraulic failure in the system itself; which basically means that the septic system is no longer purifying the waste water. Do you have any kind of odors or any of that sort of thing coming out of this?
IKE: None whatsoever.
TOM: Alright. Well, I think it’s probably just the fact that you’ve had such a hot summer and you have a very shallow root structure over these lines that’s causing this. If you get any indications of odor that might indicate a bigger problem with that, I would get a septic contractor out there to take a look and just make sure everything is OK.
IKE: OK. That makes a lot of sense. Well, I sure love you guys’ show. You have a lot of useful information on it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
IKE: Joann in South Carolina’s got a fireplace problem. What can we help you with?
JOANN: Yes, we just remodeled our home and took out a glass-front fireplace screen and we have a lot of humidity over here. So I’m trying to figure out how I can keep the humidity out, besides just the damper. We don’t want to do anything permanent because someday we may want to sell the house.
TOM: Well, I don’t think that your fireplace is the source of your humidity problem if you live in South Carolina. (Joann chuckles) Yeah, the heat is going to be going up the chimney, not down. If you’re trying to reduce humidity, there’s a whole bunch of other things that you should be thinking about doing; starting on the outside of the house: making sure that your gutter system is there, it’s functional, it’s discharging water away from the house; making sure the soil slopes away from the walls. These are ways to manage the water from the outside.
LESLIE: Now, do you have a forced air system?
JOANN: We have a heat pump.
TOM: OK, and then you’re going to have a forced air duct system if you have a heat pump.
TOM: A good thing to add on to that is something called a whole-home dehumidifier. There is one made by Aprilaire that’s excellent. They’re one of the sponsors of this show. They are a terrific company that makes a product that takes out 90 pints of water a day.
LESLIE: And it doesn’t ever need any emptying, so it’s consistently pulling the water out from where it needs to be. And you can adjust it in different ways to kick on in different zones; particularly rooms below grade more often than in the rest of the house. But it’s continually pulling the moisture.
Kevin in Connecticut needs some help with a flooring project, tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
KEVIN: Well, what we’re looking at here is an 1848 house in Connecticut that has wide-board floors – original floors – and there’s no subflooring as I think plywood was in short supply at that time.
TOM: (chuckles) Yeah, it wasn’t invented yet. (laughs)
KEVIN: No. Yeah, they didn’t have any. So what I have is the cracks between the wide-board floors when I refinished them. I don’t know what to put in the cracks, which can be anywhere from 1/8 to 3/8 inches.
TOM: Yeah. The trick of the trade for that, Kevin, is to press some jute rope into it. That’s the sort of – how would you describe the jute? Stringy, right?
LESLIE: It’s like a natural fiber that’s …
TOM: Natural fiber, yeah.
LESLIE: … twisted and woven out of many sort of individual strings of the jute roping itself.
LESLIE: So what you would do is you would buy a pretty thick one – you know, not the super-fat one but one that would work for the widest width of your gaps on your floor – and then you can stain the rope to match your flooring. And once that’s dry, you want to grab a knife – not a matte knife; a scraper – one of those nice paint scrapers – and you can go ahead and shove the roping into the spaces between the flooring and as it sort of thins out and waivers, you can peel away – you know, unravel some of that rope to help it fit into the appropriate opening. And that’s really the best way because if you use a wood filler, it’s just going to crack out; you’re going to vacuum it up; it’s going to dry out; it’s never going to look right.
TOM: Kevin, and it sort of looks like a very thick twine.
KEVIN: Alright, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a plumbing project on your to-do list, you can do your own plumbing work. And in fact, replacing a faucet fixture is not as hard as you might think. To make sure that you get professional results, we are going to have a trick of the trade to share with you when we’re joined by Richard Trethewey, the plumbing expert from This Old House, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 or head over to our website at MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and e-mail us your question. And while you’re there, check out the new site and let us know what you think about it.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Delores in South Carolina needs some help with a countertop. What can we do for you today?
DELORES: My question to you is I have a kitchen countertop that’s a Formica white …
DELORES: … and it has several stains in it which I can’t get out. I’ve tried white vinegar, bleach, whatever. I can’t get it out. And I was just wondering, do they have anything on the market that would be a durable type of paint that I could paint for Formica countertops?
TOM: Yeah, actually the answer to this question, up til very recently, was no. But there’s a new product out called Giani Granite and it’s a paint. It’s spelled G-i-a-n-i Granite and their website is GianiGranite.com. It only is available in two colors – there’s a light color and a dark color – but you can actually paint …
LESLIE: But you can sort of adjust it.
TOM: Yeah, you can actually paint a laminate countertop with it and will come out sort of looking like a granite finish and it’s pretty nice. It’s reasonably durable, not terribly expensive and I think it’s a great solution for this exact situation.
LESLIE: And you know what? It’s a great do-it-yourself project, Delores. There’s sort of different color paints that they give you. There’s like a black-tone granite and then sort of like a creamy-tone granite. The creamy tone has flecks of like a white, a black and a gray. And of course, depending on how much you sort of dabble or sponge-paint onto the base color, it controls the darkness and depth of the granite look that you’re going to get. I would definitely practice on a piece of scrap Formica just to work out your technique and get to a place where you like before you dive right onto your countertop. I have to say, just from looking at the two in person, I sort of enjoyed the lighter-tone one better but it’s …
DELORES: That’s what I would get; the lighter tone.
LESLIE: It’s a great option.
DELORES: Do you know where I could get that or can I just go on the internet and get that?
TOM: Yeah, I would just go online; the website, again, GianiGranite.com and I believe you can order it right there.
DELORES: (inaudible at 0:21:46.5) I really appreciate this. (chuckles)
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, getting a nice, tight seal on your do-it-yourself plumbing projects is very important to ensure that you’ve got a leak-free future.
TOM: You got that right and there are a couple of ways to make sure that happens. For expert tips, we turn now to host Kevin O’Connor and plumbing expert Richard Trethewey from TV’s This Old House.
So gentlemen, where do we begin?
KEVIN: If a plumbing project is in your future, the best way to make sure it remains leak-free for the long haul is by doing a good job soldering pipes.
Richard, that’s your specialty; so what’s the secret to a job done right?
RICHARD: Well, as the good painters will tell you, it’s all in the prep. For soldering copper pipes, you want to be sure we clean both the pipes and the fittings with an emery cloth and then you apply flux and make sure there’s a good, clean fit there together.
Now, when I go to solder, I love using a propane torch with this little trigger on it. It has a little sparker on it and it’ll light that flame easily without having to work with matches or a striker and that’s really handy. And when you’re putting that heat onto the joint, always apply the heat to the opposite side of where you’re going to apply the solder. Solder will actually go towards the heat in any direction. And always wear safety glasses.
KEVIN: So what if the homeowner is not comfortable with that big propane torch; they don’t like soldering? Are there other alternatives? How do you feel about compression joints?
RICHARD: Yeah, there’s compression fittings. There’s ones that have been around for a long time: the traditional compression fitting that requires you to take two wrenches and tighten up that nut and what it’ll do, it’ll squeeze down a little brass ring inside – called a ferrule – to make a watertight connection.
Now they also make a new fitting on the market – they call them SharkBites – and it actually sticks in like a Dutch finger. The pipe goes in and gets locked in but you can actually take it apart later to disassemble it. Now I obviously prefer soldering because I know how to and if you want to know more about how to, there’s a step-by-step video about how to solder copper pipes properly. Visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: Now if you don’t happen to have one of those compression fittings, can you use the Chinese finger puzzle? That kind of works the same way?
RICHARD: (chuckling) Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and don’t get your fingers stuck in it. It’s painful.
TOM: (laughing) Richard Trethewey, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tip, guys.
KEVIN: Glad to be here.
RICHARD: Our pleasure.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Thanks, guys.
You know, those are some great ideas to make sure that your plumbing projects are absolutely done right. If you want some more tips, head on over to ThisOldHouse.com and there you can watch step-by-step videos of the projects so you will learn exactly what you need to know.
TOM: And This Old House is proudly brought to you by The Home Depot. The Home Depot – more saving, more doing.
OK, still ahead, buying a fire extinguisher for your home is a good idea but you’ve got to know what type you need to make sure it’ll put out the fire if it ever happens. We’re going to spell that out, after this.
ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Two-Part Epoxy Garage Floor Coating. Transform drab, gray, concrete garage floors into attractive and functional spaces with a showroom-quality finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement or your home décor question. Not only will you get the answer but you may win our prize this hour. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us, the name drawn at random at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, and it is an EcoMade bath rug by Shaw. It’s made of type-6 nylon fibers which can be recycled into rugs and carpeting over and over again. It comes in tons of colors and it feels great. Best of all, when you want a new rug, Shaw will tell you where to recycle your old one so it does not end up in a landfill. It’s a prize worth 25 bucks; going to go out, again, to one caller who reaches us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: That’s right. Give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on. And regardless to what you’ve got on your to-do list, you really always want to make sure that you are practicing good safety standards at your home and at your jobsite and a fire extinguisher is a must to do that; especially in your kitchen for all of your cooking adventures. In fact, many municipalities require a fire extinguisher to get a certificate of occupancy, so it’s very important. But in addition to the kitchen, you should really have them throughout your home.
You just want to make sure that you’ve got the right type of fire extinguisher and it can be a little confusing because when you go shopping for one, you’ll see that the fire extinguishers are marked with the letters A, B and C and that indicates the type of fire that they can put out.
Now, the A means it’s for ordinary fuels like wood or cloth. B is for flammable liquids and C is for electrical fires. To best protect you and everybody in your house in the event of any kind of fire emergency, just purchase a multipurpose extinguisher. You’re going to see it’s rated A-B-C. This way, you’ve got the right fire extinguisher for whatever type of emergency is going to strike. Just have one. You will probably never need it but you will feel such peace of mind just knowing it’s in your house.
TOM: And knowing your A-B-Cs when it comes to fire extinguishers is obviously very, very important.
LESLIE: Pauline from New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PAULINE: Hi. My question is I have to redo my deck and, right now, in spots, there’s algae growing on some spots of it. And when it rains, the wood gets really slippery. It’s like you stepped on a banana peel. You know?
TOM: Yeah. Absolutely.
PAULINE: So my question is what do I have to do to make sure I do a top-rate job and eliminate that problem so I can stain it and waterproof it?
TOM: Right. What you want to do is you need to apply a mildicide or you can use oxygenated bleach; both available at home centers. You could use like a siding wash, too. Any of those products are going to be mildicides and the trick here, Pauline, is that you need to put it on the deck; you need to let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes. Don’t let it dry in the sun but let it sit, let it saturate, let it go to work. And then you can scrub it. I want you to get like a floor brush; like the kind you use when you’ve got a really dirty floor; you’ve got to really scrub it.
TOM: And really work it in and start loosening that stuff up and get it off the deck. After you get the moss off and the algae off, then you can let it dry really good. Don’t try to go from this in the morning to staining in the afternoon because you’re going to have another problem and your stain is not going to absorb. So schedule this as sort of its own project for the weekend. Get as much of this off as you possibly can.
Now, is it possible that you could, in the future, arrange for a little more sunlight to hit that deck? Is it possible that you could trim some trees or anything of that nature or are you pretty much blocked in by the buildings?
PAULINE: It does get full sun in the morning; the deck.
TOM: OK. Yeah, because if you have a real shady space, you’re going to get more of that moss and algae growth and we always say that if it’s possible to sort of thin out some trees or any overhanging things like that, that actually will reduce it in the future. Of course, if you’re in a tight, urban area like Brooklyn, then people get really emotional when you start sort of taking their building apart so you have more light on your deck.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) When you knock down their buildings. (chuckles)
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah.
PAULINE: OK, thanks so much, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Gil in North Carolina needs some help cleaning up some black mystery spots. Tell us where you see them.
GIL: The carpet has, over a period of about ten years, started showing various-sized spots or dots. They almost look like they’re tar except they aren’t and they’re dry and they’re solid.
TOM: Have you tried to steam clean the carpet, Gil?
GIL: Yes, we’ve tried that.
LESLIE: What is the carpet on top of?
GIL: There’s a padding material.
TOM: And do you see any of the spotting underneath the carpet?
GIL: Yes, it shows underneath but not as dense in it’s feel or coloring.
LESLIE: Is the subfloor concrete?
GIL: No, the subfloor is – underneath that is an unfinished basement.
TOM: OK, so is it like a crawlspace or a basement?
GIL: No, it’s a walk-in.
TOM: It’s a walk-in basement? And you don’t see anything in the basement, do you?
GIL: And the living – yeah, the living room – which is right next door to the family room, where all the spots are – is completely clean.
TOM: Well, you know what? It sounds to me – I was going to suggest that this could be a defect in the carpets that have taken many years to show. I wonder if there’s a problem with the dye kind of coming off in chunks like that.
LESLIE: You don’t think maybe there’s a leak somewhere underneath and that’s mold?
TOM: Well, it sounds like it’s very consistent all the way across …
TOM: … and you know, it’s over an unfinished basement. If he had a mold problem, it certainly would be more prevalent in the basement than up in this carpet. So I’m tending to think that you just may have some worn-out carpet on your hands there, Gil.
GIL: Well, that’s where the pressure is coming from as far as fixing the house up.
TOM: Well, and is it – and where’s that pressure coming from, exactly? Would it be Mrs. Gil?
TOM: (chuckles) Well, it might be time to grant her wish, Gil, and get her some new carpet. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Marie in Rhode Island is with us on The Money Pit to talk about a cleaning problem. What can we do for you today?
MARIE: What is the best product to use for removing mold from Trex decking?
TOM: Well, composite decks, as good as they are, do tend to build up an algae that can get across the surface. And there’s a number of products that are available to clean that; one of which – which is real easy to find – is called Jomax, J-o-m-a-x. It’s made by the Zinsser Company. It’s available at hardware stores and home centers and …
LESLIE: And does a great job.
TOM: It’s basically a siding and a roof wash and a deck wash. And you apply this stuff. You let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes and then sort of scrub it and rinse it off and it does a really good job of bringing the shine back up to that deck.
MARIE: Very good. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Alright. Are wallpapered walls driving you up a wall? Well, we’ve got a trick of the trade to get that old paper off and get those walls ready for paint; so stick around.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And now is the perfect time to take on dozens of home improvement projects. This is what Leslie and I call the Goldilocks season because it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold; it is just a good time to get lots of things done around your house. Whether you’re working inside, outside of the house, up in the attic, in the basement, in the crawlspace, doing a bath, doing a kitchen, now is the time to get those jobs done because it is the fall home improvement season.
LESLIE: That’s right. It’s the perfect time to paint some trim; paint your walls; power wash your deck, your patio; add some attic insulation to get you ready for winter. I know we’re just getting into the fall season but winter is right around the corner.
Now, we have got information on all of these fall fix-ups and much, much, much more available right now at MoneyPit.com. And while you’re there, you can click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon; you can shoot us an e-mail. Let us know what you’re working on and we’ll give you a hand and we’re going to do that right now.
I’ve got one here from Frank in New Jersey who writes: “Great show.” Alright, thanks Frank. He says, “I have wallpaper …”
TOM: He really did write that, too. (laughs)
LESLIE: He did. I don’t make that stuff up. I’m very happy to read a compliment. Alright, so Frank in Jersey writes: “I have wallpaper with some texture to it on my walls and the seams are separating. I attempted to remove the paper but the facing on the sheetrock started to come off as well.”
LESLIE: “I’ve tried every glue and seam repair product. I can’t find anything to fix the seams and I can’t remove the paper without damaging the walls. Can you help?
TOM: Uh, hmm. OK, so you’ve tried seam repair. I want to make sure that you’ve tried wallpaper seam repair. And typically, when you put that stuff …
LESLIE: And not pants seam repair? (chuckles)
TOM: Well, I want to make sure he’s using – a lot of times, people use regular glue and they think it’s seam repair but really it’s a very special adhesive. It’s kind of like a contact adhesive for your wallpaper.
TOM: But the thing is, if that wallpaper is already pulling the paper off the drywall, then you’ve got a big problem.
Now, the way we would have told you to try to take the wallpaper off, Frank, is to use a two-step process. The first one is to go over it with what’s called a paper tiger. It’s a tool that puts little tiny holes in the wallpaper and then you follow that up with a wallpaper steamer. That gets through the holes in the paper, softens the glue behind the paper and allows it to pull off the wall. I will warn you that no matter how you do this, taking wallpaper off is a lot harder than putting it on. (Leslie chuckles) I mean it’s tough, tough work. But that’s what I would try to do.
LESLIE: You have to really hate it.
TOM: Yeah, you really do. The areas where the paper has already been pulled off the drywall is very difficult – they’re very difficult to repair. You have to use a pretty good adhesive in there – almost a contact cement – to try to get it to re-adhere; and frankly, it’s sort of an out-of-the-box – it’s an out-of-the-box attempt at trying to repair it. If it’s a small area, I think it could be OK. If it’s a really big area, then it’s going to be not worth fixing. And in that case, I would try to take off as much as I can. I would plaster over the areas where you lost the paper. I’d prime the whole wall and repaint it.
LESLIE: Alright, good luck with that.
Now we’ve got one from Bill in Delaware who writes: “We’re having new windows and doors installed and we’re undecided between steel and fiberglass. The front door faces south and someone pointed out that the fiberglass might warp. Any suggestions?”
TOM: That is a total no-brainer, Bill. There’s no comparison between steel and fiberglass. Steel dents, steel rusts. Fiberglass is very energy-efficient. It will absolutely not warp. Actually, the fiberglass doors actually qualify for the tax credits; whereas the steel doors do not. So there’s no question about it. I would put a fiberglass door and, in fact, look at the Therma-Tru fiberglass doors. They are a sponsor of the show and they are absolutely gorgeous. Their website is ThermaTru.com.
LESLIE: And you know what, Bill? The steel door, you’re going to have to repaint; the fiberglass door, nothing. So no-brainer and good luck.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. That’s about all the time we have right here but the show does continue online at MoneyPit.com. The new MoneyPit.com – brand new, fully redesigned, very functional, easy to navigate your way around and it definitely has the answer to your home improvement question because the truth of the matter is Leslie and I really don’t have any information. When we want the answer, we go to MoneyPit.com (Leslie chuckles) and that’s what makes us sound so smart.
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 and neither can we. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2009 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.