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 what are you working on this fine weekend? Take a look around your house. Is there a project on your to-do list? Let’s move it to the done list. Call us; we will help, 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s program, if you’ve ever taken on a home repair only to have the same problem pop up over and over again, you may feel like you’re living through your own personal version of the movie Groundhog Day. Remember that? We’re going to have tips to rid the déjà vu, this hour, and teach you how to get the job done once and for all, coming up.
LESLIE: And if you love the look of fresh paint but hate turning your home into a worksite for days or weeks on end, you’ll love this: a way to start and finish paint jobs in one day or less, regardless of whether you need to paint a room or an entire house. Find out how.
TOM: And speaking of paint, the color of the year has just been announced. We’ll have trendy décor tips and answer your home improvement questions. So, let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Bill in Texas is on the line and looking for some help with a marble countertop. What’s going on at your money pit?
BILL: We built the house in ’87 and moved in. And since then, several of our bathroom countertop sinks – they’re a one-piece deal that were made out of what was termed “manmade marble,” so I’m sure it’s a plastic base but only about an inch thick. And they, over the years, have been cleaned improperly with some abrasive cleaners and I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to address the scratches.
TOM: So, that sounds like some sort of a composite and it probably has a surface glaze on it. And my concern is that the glaze is worn. And you try to do any sort of polishing of that, you may end up getting into the substrate.
And I’ve seen what that substrate looks like because there was a time when I used to actually build kitchen cabinets and build vanity cabinets. And sometimes, folks would order those premade, one-piece composite sinks and we’ve had to cut them. And that surface glaze is not very thick. So if the damage to the surface – I don’t think there’s anything that you could do to clean it, so to speak, that’s going to pull that out. It’s really a replacement situation.
If it was truly marble, then you could polish it out and get below what you’re seeing, in terms of the stains and the scratches. But if it’s a composite marble, like what you’re describing, I don’t think you’re going to be able to restore that surface.
The good news is that those tops – those cast tops – are really not that expensive. You may want to just take a look at replacing it. I mean I think they’re less than 100 bucks, generally speaking.
LESLIE: It depends on the size of the vanity. But I just did a 60-inch double-sink top that was one thing with the molded sinks and it was like $189.
TOM: Yeah, so not a lot of money for the – to replace those countertops.
BILL: OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bill. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Judy on the line who needs some help with a wood floor. What can we do for you?
JUDY: We are purchasing a house, which is under construction, and we chose hardwood floors. It’s my understanding these will be glued-down type, not floated. I would like to know, especially – what’s the best way to care for them, especially in the kitchen? And I had heard of people using steam to clean them and that’s something that is new to me. Can you enlighten me?
TOM: The only type of glued-down floor that I’m aware of is a parquet floor. Now, if that’s not the case, I would like to know what product exactly they’re putting down.
I will say that, most likely, most of these hardwood floors today are prefinished. And if they’re prefinished, my quick answer is you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance.
Whether you use steam or not – those steam mops, I have some concerns about them because they do get so hot that if they are held in one place for too long, they can cause the wood to swell. But maybe if they’re used carefully and without on the highest level of steam, they probably are OK for hardwood-floor maintenance and cleaning.
JUDY: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us, Judy, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair, home design, décor, whatever-you-are-working-on home project 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, if you’ve gone through all the work to chop firewood or at the very least, have it hauled to your house, don’t let your hard work go to waste. We’ll have tips to get the biggest bang for your buck when you burn that wood, next.
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.
Hey, do you ever find yourself wishing that Tom and I could supervise all of your home improvement projects? Well, you can get the next best thing. Just click on the Radio and Podcast section on our home page at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: Yep. You’ll get our weekly radio show delivered to you each week and you can also subscribe to the feeds of new articles, videos and blogs. It’s all online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Brad in Massachusetts is on the line and wants some help with insulation. What’s going on at your obviously chilly home?
BRAD: Well, we’ve got a stucco house, three story. It’s a Japanese-style Arts and Crafts.
LESLIE: Ooh, that sounds gorgeous.
BRAD: Yeah, it’s different. It was designed by a fellow by the name of Ralph Adams Cram, who was a noted architect back in the day.
There’s no insulation. We have a cold basement and it’s stucco, as I said. There may be firestopping, I’m not sure, you know, in the walls. And it – that’s unclear. But I’m worried about moisture, so – I’m also worried about a fuel bill. So, what I’m looking to do is – how do I go about insulating this house and – so that we can be warm all winter in this cold part of the United States and at the same time, make certain we don’t introduce moisture problems from trapped water?
TOM: Well, first of all, this is a wood-frame wall?
TOM: So, this is a good reason to use a blown-in insulation. And so, blown-in cellulose, maybe blown-in fiberglass, coupled – it has to be installed by somebody who really knows what they’re doing, because they’re going to use an infrared scanner to determine those cold spaces. Because you mentioned it may have firestopping. If it turns out you have firestopping for every bay – every section of open 2×4 – you may end up with two holes instead of one. Once they figure out sort of the lay of the land, then I would blow in insulation into those cavities. And that’s going to warm up those walls quite a bit.
If you use cellulose or fiberglass, I wouldn’t be too terribly concerned about moisture because I think those walls are going to breathe, based on the age of that house. And it’s really not practical to do any kind of vapor barrier at this point.
BRAD: Yeah, yeah, OK. So, he has to do the due diligence to make certain he fills all these bays up and everything.
LESLIE: Yeah. But you’d be surprised. I did this in my home at the beginning of – well, it ended up happening at the beginning of the fall. And I did notice a big change in it but I was really surprised that the contractor who did the insulation, which was blown-in from the exterior – and I saw the holes and I saw the pink stuff flying out of it. But nobody would come in and do a thermal scan to show me that the bay – because it’s like a mystery. You’re like, “Is it really in there? Did you really do it?” And I would love to see that to know that, truly, those areas are all filled.
BRAD: Right. OK. So, is that normally done from outside rather than coming in and tearing up my wallpaper and everything?
TOM: Well, you have the option of doing it from outside or inside. Now, if it’s stucco and you’re going to repaint the house, repairing stucco is pretty easy and it’s supposed to be rough, so that might be the way to go. Or a combination. If you’ve got some rooms with nice wallpaper, maybe you leave those rooms alone. But if you’ve got some rooms that are just plain, old drywall, then you go ahead and go at it from the inside.
BRAD: Any choice between fiberglass or cellulose?
TOM: I personally prefer cellulose. I think that it packs better and it’s got fire-resistance built into it, so you don’t have to worry about that.
BRAD: Alright, good. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sandy in Pennsylvania on the line who has a 20-year-old water heater.
Geez, Sandy. Are you swimming in your basement? What’s going on?
SANDY: No, no. It’s about 22 years old and it’s – I’ve had just good luck with it. My house I built in 1993 – or I had built. I’m trying to get more energy-efficient. In the last six months, I put in a new washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove. Last weekend, I finished putting in 9 more inches of insulation in the attic. So my next thought is: do I need to replace my 22-year-old electric water heater? I do have access to propane. So, that’s my question.
TOM: I think that the water heater has served you very well, Sandy, and you’ve been very fortunate that it’s lasted 22 years. And I wouldn’t expect your luck to hold out. Eventually, it’s going to leak, probably at the least opportune time. So I would say that if I had a 20-plus-year-old water heater, I’d be looking to upgrade that to replace it.
In terms of efficiency, there’s not a whole lot you can do to make an electric water heater more efficient. But there is one thing I would suggest and that is to put the water heater on a timer. And this way, you can have it just operate when it needs to. So that might be a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening but not midday and not overnight. And that will actually cut the cost of operating it significantly.
SANDY: OK. I was looking at the Rheems and the Whirlpools and then I saw something about glass-lined water heaters, 12-year warranties. Any information on that?
TOM: Well, you know, the warranties are going to vary on all of these brands. And I think you do kind of get what you pay for. And so, if you found one that had a good 10-plus-year warranty, I think that would be a good place to start.
SANDY: OK. Thank you so much. Happy New Year. I love your show.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, chopping and moving firewood is hard work. It’s hard work, though, that can be undone all too easily if you don’t store the wood properly before you toss it into your fireplace.
LESLIE: Yeah, the key is keeping it dry. When your firewood gets wet, the wood is not going to burn properly. It’ll put out more steam and smoke than heat, which is what you want.
TOM: Next, you want to keep that firewood off the ground by piling it up on a base. But don’t lean that pile against the side of your house, because the moisture from the wood could damage the siding. And all that deadwood in a nice, neat stack along your house? It can attract termites right into your space.
LESLIE: Yeah. So you want to make sure that you pack the firewood snugly but you have to leave enough airflow to minimize the risk of mold and mildew, as well. And don’t stack it higher than 4 feet unless you have side supports in your storage area.
TOM: Good point. Because even if you’ve got those side supports, you want to keep that top of the pile level to avoid having it collapse and fall.
And lastly, keep the firewood stored, outdoors, under a waterproof cover. So this way, it’ll stay dry and when you put it in the fireplace, it will get that blaze burning quickly.
888-666-3974. Do you have a burning home improvement question? Call us right now.
LESLIE: Frieda from Ohio is on the line with The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
FRIEDA: Hi. My Amana Radarange microwave, it’s mounted above my stove. And on the bottom, the down light that shines down onto the stove, the light bulbs in that keep burning out. And I have to replace them about once a month and they’re getting expensive.
TOM: What kind of light bulb are you using? Just a regular incandescent?
FRIEDA: It’s like the R11, the little appliance bulbs? Forty watt?
TOM: And is this a fairly new problem, this once-a-month burnout, or has it been going on for a long, long time?
FRIEDA: It’s getting worse. I mean we’ve had the microwave in here – it’s probably about 16 years old or – give or take.
TOM: Yeah, that doesn’t really owe you any money. That’s pretty old for a microwave appliance. You’ve pretty much reached the end of a normal life cycle. In fact, I’m kind of surprised it lasted that long, because it’s been my experience that the microwave ovens that are mounted above ranges don’t last nearly as long as a countertop microwave. Because the additional heat from all that cooking has the effect of sort of wearing on those components.
Typically, when you get a bulb that burns out quickly, it’s either because you have a loose connection, you have a loose ground or you have a problem with the voltage that’s going in there.
Sometimes, depending on what’s happening with the power company, you could be getting, say, more than 120 volts. You might be getting 125 or 130 volts, sometimes, because there could be something that is bad down the line with the power supply – the quality of the power supply. So if you have extra volts going into those lights, that is one of the first things that tends to show it. It’s kind of like the canary in the coal mine. When the lights start to go – burn out frequently – like that, it could be an issue with the voltage.
So, have you been thinking about a new microwave?
FRIEDA: Not really.
TOM: What I would suggest is that, at this point, you really need to have the voltage tested. So I would call the utility company and ask them to meter the voltage going into your house and see if it’s – let’s eliminate that as a possibility.
If that is OK, I would – the second thing I would check is the plug that it’s actually plugged into. I’d check the outlet to make sure it’s properly grounded. And if it’s properly grounded, then I think you’ve exhausted the two things that are the easiest to fix and at that point, you might want to think about replacing the microwave.
FRIEDA: Alright. That sounds good.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jim in Illinois is on the line with some drafty windows. Tell us about your money pit.
JIM: Well, I have an historic, old home. It’s over 100 years old.
JIM: And it has all of the original windows and glass in it.
JIM: And they are, needless to say, very drafty. So I was trying to figure out a way that was fairly cost-effective closing up those drafts.
TOM: So if you want to keep the original windows, then you essentially have to work with what you have. So, adding weatherstripping is really the limit of what you can do with those.
I will say that if you’ve got one that’s really drafty, in a room that maybe you don’t need to open the window, there is a product that’s called “temporary caulk” or “weatherstripping caulk.” It’s basically a caulk that’s designed to go on clear and then in the spring, you can peel it off. It comes off sort of in a rubbery strip. So that’s also an effective way to seal a window that you’re not going to open. But remember, you’re kind of sealing it shut, so you’ve got to be careful not to do that in a bedroom or a place where you need to have emergency egress.
Now, if you want to replace the window, you could look at different manufacturers that make very historic windows. Marvin, for example, is very good at this. Andersen is good at it, as well. They make windows that fit well into a historic building. Then, of course, you’ve got all the modern conveniences that are associated with that.
I think that you would find, obviously, huge energy differences, not only in the drafts but also in the solar heat gain in the summer. Because I’m sure there’s nothing stopping all of that heat of the sun from getting into those windows. And if you have new glass that’s got a low-E coating, it’s going to reflect that heat back out.
So, weatherstripping – liquid weatherstripping – or temporary caulk or window replacement, those would be your options.
JIM: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Murray in Illinois is on the line and he needs some advice on buying a new water heater. What can we help you with?
MURRAY: Well, my issue is I have a house full of females and myself and we are having an issue with keeping up with hot water.
MURRAY: I presently have a 40-gallon, natural-gas water heater and I was wondering if I could get you guys’ opinion. The bathroom they shower in is upstairs and we also have a washing machine up there.
And I was wondering what you guys thought of the instantaneous water heaters. I’ve seen some small ones that it said would put out 3.3 gallons per minute and I had no idea what an actual shower takes. And I just wondered what you guys thought about that supplement, maybe, to the hot-water heater.
TOM: OK. So, first of all, we are fans of tankless water-heating technology. And so, we do believe that if your water heater was failing, then that would be an appropriate thing to replace it with.
In your case, you’re talking about supplementing, which is a bit different because you really have to have your water-heating needs zoned into two separate loops if you want to supplement. Because then you have half on the tank water heater and half on the tankless.
The issue of your water heater being located a distance from the plumbing fixtures that you want to use most frequently is not going to be solved, regardless of what kind of water heater you have, because the water still has to travel the same distance. But if you’re concerned about running out of hot water, that’s not going to happen with a tankless; it just won’t. And you buy the tankless based on how many bathrooms you have in your house and there’ll be plenty of hot water to keep everybody in those bathrooms showered for as long as they want to stay in there.
MURRAY: So you’re saying just – it’s best just to replace the natural-gas one I have and get a whole-house tankless?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. How old is that one you have now?
MURRAY: It’s probably, I’m guessing, five or six years, maybe.
TOM: Yeah. So it’s still pretty new. They usually last about 10. So you’ve got a decision to make, you know? If you’re running out of hot water, then maybe it’s worth doing.
MURRAY: OK. I appreciate your help very much. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, Murray. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, I think Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz said it the best: “Tarps and trays and ladders, oh my?” Is that …?
TOM: Is that what Dorothy said?
LESLIE: I think so. Well, anybody who’s painted inside or outside really knows that it turns your entire house upside down. So, what if you could get all of this painting done in just one day? We’ll tell you how, after this.
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TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, we are big advocates of using paint to change the look of a room. It’s the easiest and the least expensive way to do just that. But we’re also big advocates of doing it yourself.
However, painting is a one-day DIY project that gets old fast. It can be tedious, it can be time-consuming. And when you start to lose interest, your project suffers, too, as you lose focus on those very important details.
LESLIE: Ah but there is a way to take the time and effort out of painting completely. Imagine leaving for work and coming home to a brand-new look. It’s possible with a company we found called WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. Here to tell us more is Sarah Gray.
SARAH: Thank you both for having me on. It’s a pleasure.
And you’re absolutely right: painting is one of those things a lot of people embark on and really wish they hadn’t by the end of it all.
TOM: And the devil is in the details, right? When people want to do a painting project, they want to get right to the paint. They want to skip the prep, they want to skip the prime. And if they do that, all of that work is for naught because it’s only going to have to be repeated very, very soon in the future.
Now, you guys have taken all that pain away, because you have a system now where you can come in and paint an entire house – regardless of the size, regardless of the project – in a single day, right?
SARAH: Well, that is the whole idea behind it. So we’re offering people the sort of instant gratification in a realm where I don’t really think it’s been offered before. We can come in and basically, we assess the situation, decide if it’s going to be a huge project and we need lots of painters and we just get it done. You can leave in the morning and you come home to a freshly painted house at night.
LESLIE: I mean that’s really amazing. What kind of prep work is involved for the homeowner? Do they have to clear furniture or is it truly like, “Bye. Here’s the colors I want”?
SARAH: It is actually like giving your keys away to your house for the day. We will take care of everything. And actually, one of the things that we found is that it’s all about prep work.
So, if you prep really well, you can actually do pretty much anything faster but painting, especially. So, if you’re really detailed about how you prepare and how you get everything ready, you can get everything done a lot faster than you’d think.
TOM: This reminds me of, Leslie – it’s all those reality shows that we’ve done where you’ve got to get the painting project done in a single day because you’ve got to shoot the reveal – the finale. And it’s got to be done one way or another. It’s going to happen with you or without you.
SARAH: Oh, yeah. We actually – we’ve been featured on a few shows like that, just because we are super-speedy. So, we actually are able to get in there and within the timeframe that a do-it-yourself show or a home makeover show requires, we can get it all sort of looking great and the camera is still rolling. So, yeah, we know how to do things very quickly.
LESLIE: Now, that’s really fantastic. How does your price point sort of compare? I imagine if you hire a traditional painter who’s dealing with a normal duration of a project, that’s one price. But now, if I’m dealing with a team of people in a rather hurried fashion, does that affect my cost?
SARAH: It doesn’t affect it as much as you might think. And you’re still going to get the quality that you want in a timeline that’s totally unexpected. So, it definitely does affect the price point slightly but not as much as you’d think. And most people are so pleased that it is just completely over within the blink of an eye that they don’t even notice that part of it.
But yeah, we do have a few more painters than you’d normally have a on a job, if it’s a really big one, just to get things rolling faster.
TOM: Well, you’d probably be saving money because you won’t have to be paying for all that take-out food day after day after day. You’re right back to the kitchen.
SARAH: Yeah. And all the cleanup and – yeah.
TOM: So, Sarah, what do you do when you have, I don’t know, multiple colors and you need to wait for different coats to dry? Is that a challenge with one-day painting or do you bring in heaters to speed the process up? How do you handle that?
SARAH: It’s definitely a challenge and we go over that with all of our clients and sort of discuss what the timeline is going to look like. And yeah, we have various methods of speeding processes up, including heaters and painting with the weather and things like that. And we usually warn our customers if it’s going to be a little bit longer or this color scheme might add a little – a couple of hours. But we definitely have – it’s all about the prep and then the heating and working with the weather to get things done as quickly as possible.
TOM: We’re talking to Sarah Gray. She’s the PR manager with WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, a company that promises to paint your entire house or whatever size project you have short of that in a single day.
So, Sarah, is your service available nationally or is it regional?
SARAH: It is available across the country. We have 25 franchises across North America right now. So, yeah, you can get the same quality and the same timeline anywhere you go in North America if you go to WOW.
TOM: So before we let you go, what are some favorite, say, makeover tricks that your team is doing right now that seem to work really well?
SARAH: Honestly, a couple of really nice things that we’re doing – you can actually get colors on your walls that sort of are trends with the season. So, for example, Valentine’s Day is coming up and deep reds and sort of burgundies and wine colors are actually quite on trend. But they also happen to be great for Valentine’s Day.
So, if you want to make your room look a little bit warmer and maybe add a little sex appeal to it, you can do a nice, deep, rich red or a wine color or a burgundy. And a really cute, little thing that we’re advising people do is paint on your own chalkboard, so you can put your own little message on the – to your lover on your chalkboard in your room or in the kitchen.
LESLIE: Exactly. And what a great idea to come home to a beautifully painted room as a gift.
SARAH: Oh, I would love that. I wish that my boyfriend would do that for me.
LESLIE: Me too.
TOM: Perfect. Sarah Gray from WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
SARAH: Thank you both for having me.
TOM: If you’d like more information on WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, head on over to their website at WOW1DAY.com. That’s WOW, the number 1, DAY.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, if you’re on the verge of some design updates, don’t make a move without knowing 2015’s Color of the Year. We’ll be back with that design trend, 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.
TOM: Well, with temperatures like these, there’s a good chance that you’re stuck inside fighting a case of cabin fever. Why not turn it into spring fever by heading outside and getting your trees ready for the change of weather? The results will be worth it. We’ve got tips for winter tree care on the home page, right now, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Jim in California is on the line and looking for some info on solar. What can we do for you?
JIM: Yes, I am. I’m considering investing and putting solar panels on my roof. And wondering what the pitfalls of that might be.
TOM: When was the last time you replaced your roof?
JIM: It’s the original one that’s on the house. It was a new house that was built in 2004. And it has a clay-tile roof.
TOM: Oh, so that’s a very durable roof.
OK. Well, first of all, living in California, you’ve got plenty of sunshine. I’d certainly want to take advantage of that. I would investigate the various ways that you can purchase solar-panel installation. You can either buy them outright or sometimes you can work with companies that will lease them to you for a certain term, after which you can buy them. And generally, when you lease them, you’re getting enough power to pay for most of your electric bill and they’re getting the rest and selling it back to the utility company. So there’s a lot of ways to do that. And plus, there are rebates that are available for solar panels. So I think all of those are good solutions.
The reason I asked you how old your roof is – because once you put this on, if you’ve got to fix the roof or replace the roof, it’s all got to come off. But since your roof is pretty durable, I wouldn’t be too concerned about that.
JIM: OK. How about how – you know, most of the solar-panel companies haven’t been in business too long. Should I be concerned with that?
TOM: It is a pretty new technology and I think like any – hiring any contractor, you’ve got to do your homework. So I would speak very thoroughly with a good number of their clients. I would get a good list and I would call that list.
And I think a lot of times when we tell folks to check references, they get a list of references but they don’t call them. I would start at the top and work my way down that list. And you want to find people that – ask them for references from people that they worked with last month and last year so you have a good span of time of customers before you make that final decision.
JIM: Alright. And what would I normally expect the payback to be in something like that? How many years?
TOM: Well, I was speaking with somebody who just had solar work done on their home recently, in Middle America. And it was interesting because they found that after they – they used the system where they basically partnered with a company that put the panels up. Didn’t have any installation cost. And they’re finding that they’re covering 90 percent of their power as a result of this installation. That really cut their expenses way down as a result of that. So, I think it depends on what kind of a deal you make.
JIM: OK. So it sounds like it’s something worth investigating.
TOM: Absolutely. Jim, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, the 2015 Color of the Year has been announced by the Pantone Color Institute. And it’s really exciting. I mean designers wait for this all year and it’s not just interior designers. It’s clothing designers. It really runs the gamut of where you are going to see this color pop up.
And whether you love it or hate it, one thing’s for sure: you will see it everywhere.
So, Tom, what’s that color?
TOM: It’s called Marsala. And it’s named for the Italian dessert wine that shares its red, earthy tone. Marsala is a very different shade from the bright colors that have dominated the color list for the last few years, though.
LESLIE: So, does it mean that there’s a return to calmer colors across the board? Only time is going to tell that. But if you’re looking for a fresh take on earth tones, Marsala is going to pair beautifully with natural materials like wood and brick.
TOM: It also has a coolness and a calming effect that works well with both matte and sheen finishes. So don’t be surprised if you see Marsala in bedrooms, yoga studios and even nurseries before 2015 comes to an end.
888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Going out to Wisconsin, right now, where Beth is dealing with a stinky refrigerator.
Beth, you’ve tried everything. What’s going on?
BETH: I’ve had the stinkiness for about a month now. I keep washing it down and the stink still stays. I put baking soda in it. Nothing’s getting rid of it. I was wondering if mold could grow in the walls of the refrigerator or if there’s some sort of filter in there or …
TOM: Well, bacteria can certainly grow. And sometimes when – especially if you’ve had a power failure or if a refrigerator sits outside and it kind of gets damp and moist, you get bacteria that will grow in the foam that’s in the wall or the insulation that’s in the wall. If the insulation got damp, that could be causing it.
The one suggestion that I might have for you, if you want to try this one more time, is to take everything out and clean the whole thing down with oxygenated bleach. So not just a simple kitchen spray but true, oxygenated bleach, because that has the best chance of killing any bacteria. But the problem, again, is if the bacteria is in the insulation, you’re not going to get to that. So, I would give it a good cleaning with oxygenated bleach and see if that will solve the issue.
BETH: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Beth. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bobby in North Carolina is on the line with a bathroom-vent question. What can we do for you today?
BOBBY: I’ve got an exhaust fan and the light combination. And when it gets real cold back there – and I don’t have a lot of heat back there because I like a cool bedroom and the spare bathroom is in the bedroom. But anyhow, it condensates and I need to know what I can do to it to stop that condensation.
TOM: So the vent in the bathroom is getting the condensation when it’s cold outside. Can you get to the attic above it?
BOBBY: Yes. Yes, sir.
TOM: What I would do is I would insulate the exhaust duct for the bath fan. Because if you insulate that exhaust duct, then the warm – the air that’s inside of it will stay warm; it will not condense against the cold exterior. And that should stop the condensation issue from happening.
BOBBY: Mm-hmm. OK. Well, that’s what I needed to know. I appreciate it very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bobby. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, do you feel like your home improvement headaches are on repeat? Well, avoid the déjà vu by doing them right the first time around. We’ll have that and more, after this.
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TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Are you still looking for help with your money pit? Well, you’re not alone. Just head on over to MoneyPit.com for tips and answers to your home improvement questions big and small. While you’re there, sign up for our free e-Newsletter and stay ahead of home maintenance year-round. It’s all online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And while you’re there, post a question in our Community section, just like – here we go. We’ve got one here from Bob in New York who writes: “We had our house painted a few months back but there’s a problem with the paint on the trim: you can easily scrape it off with your nail. The painter says to wait and see because paint can take a year to harden. But in the meantime, our house looks terrible. This painter did not prime or even sand the trim before painting because he said it didn’t need it.”
TOM: Yeah. And I think that was a big mistake. The devil is in the details when it comes to painting. And if you don’t prime it, if you don’t sand it and prep it properly, this is exactly what’s going to happen.
Is it true that paint can take a while to harden? Yeah. But the problem is it’s not the hardening of the – is not the issue. The problem is it’s just not sticking. You don’t have adhesion between the paint and the surface you’re painting. So this is a case where all of the paint needs to be removed. The surface needs to be sanded. It needs to be primed before another topcoat is applied.
You shouldn’t have to wait to see how this pans out. We know the end of this story. It’s not good. You need to get that painter back and have him redo the job.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Steve in Michigan writes: “My home is a north-facing house built on an embankment. The sidewalk, which is a good 15 feet lower than my house, receives little sunlight and ends up covered in snow and ice all winter long. Is there any way to alleviate this?”
TOM: Well, obviously, you need more sunshine on that side of the house. And so I would suggest that you look to cut back some of that winter tree cover to get more sun on it, if possible. That’s really the only thing you can do.
I mean look, you can have heaters built into sidewalks but to do that, you’ve got to tear out what you’ve got and put a whole new sidewalk in with the heating system built into it. And that’s very, very expensive to do.
LESLIE: Yeah, I think you’re just going to have to shovel more and invest in a lot of icy melt.
TOM: Well, it’s the classic Groundhog Day moment: you get out your tools, fix a problem and what seems like an instant later, it has to be done again. It’s funnier when it happens to Bill Murray, right? Well, Leslie has some tips on how you can stop the déjà vu by turning those nagging problems into one-and-done jobs, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, fixing the same problem over and over again is really a drag. But you’ve got to address the root cause and then do the job properly. This way, you can bring an end to those vicious cycles.
The next time you see some peeling paint, don’t just slap another coat of paint on it. Instead, strip away the old stuff with a paint scraper or even a chemical stripper. And then, here’s the key: apply primer before you reapply that topcoat. The primer is what’s going to make that paint stick for good.
Now, if your basement seems to spring a leak every time you fix the last one, there’s a good chance the real issue is poor drainage. So, grade your soil away from your home’s foundation and make sure that your gutters are releasing water at least 4 to 6 feet away from your exterior walls for a much drier below-grade space.
And put away that caulk gun once and for all. If the caulk between your shower tiles keeps cracking or breaking, fill the bathtub with water before you fill that caulk line in one final time. The weight of the water is going to expand the gaps that you need to fill, which will later contract for a tighter, longer lasting fit.
TOM: Good advice.
Coming up next time on The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about painting. It’s the easiest way to update a room but picking the right color can be overwhelming. We’ve got tips on how to choose the proper shades for your space and to make sure it’s perfect before you pick up that brush, on the next edition of 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.
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(Copyright 2015 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.)