TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, 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: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you with your home improvement projects at 888-666-3974.
Well, today is a very special edition of The Money Pit. We are coming to you from Stanley Tools headquarters here in New Britain, Connecticut. Here is where you’ll find an incredible American success story with a company that can trace its roots back over 100 years.
LESLIE: That’s right. And a tool manufacturer named Frederick Stanley, who was so proud of his innovations that he put his name on the products – but what started with bolts and hinges and other hardware has grown to a powerhouse brand with many product lines.
TOM: And the future is very bright for this company. We’re going to find out what’s on the horizon and learn about some new products that are using Bluetooth technology to make your home improvement projects easier.
LESLIE: And we’re taking your calls for our prize giveaway this hour. Up for grabs is the STANLEY FatMax Prize Pack featuring several FatMax tools, including the Anti-Vibe Hammer and the Exo-Change Utility Knife.
TOM: It’s a prize pack worth $110. Going out to one caller drawn at random. So pick up the phone and give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Blake from Florida on the line with an electrical question. What can we do for you today?
BLAKE: I have a house that was built in the 60s and when it was built, there was really no electrical outlet put in the bathroom. It was integrated in the light fixture. And I was wanting to put in a new outlet and I was wondering if it was GFCI-compatible and also how to wire it.
TOM: OK. So, it’s a good idea to put a ground-fault outlet in a bathroom application. Now, ground-fault outlets are different than regular outlets because they basically will detect any diversion of electricity to a ground source, which is basically what happens when you get a shock. And it does that quickly and efficiently and safely. Now, because you’ve not had the outlet in there before, you’re going to have to bring power to it.
But the interesting thing about ground faults is that they can actually protect just themselves or there’s just that one outlet or they can protect an entire circuit. And that’s all about how you wire them.
But as long as you can get power to the outlet, you’re going to have a ground fault that protects it. And while you’re at it – those are the four most expensive words in home improvement – take a look at other wet locations around your house, like around your kitchen, for example, or in your garage. And add ground-fault outlets there, too, because they really make it a lot safer.
LESLIE: Yeah. You’re going to need them. And what’s interesting is now you can even find things with an arc-fault circuit interrupter. Because so many times, the ground-fault circuit does one purpose and the arc fault really detects anything that’s sort of arcing and sparking behind the walls.
LESLIE: So if you’ve got an older house with questionable wiring, you might want to start there to protect yourself at the source.
TOM: From shocks and fires.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got E.B. from New York on the line. What’s going on at your money pit?
E.B.: Hey. How are you? Thanks for taking my call.
TOM: You’re so welcome.
E.B.: I actually live in a rental apartment.
LESLIE: Rentals can be money pits, too. Let’s just say …
E.B.: It’s true. I have a really great deal, because people are jealous of my rent stabilization here in New York. But the problem is is that they don’t improve things for me.
LESLIE: Because then they’d have to increase your rent.
E.B.: Exactly. So, I want to invest a little bit even though it won’t help me make money in the long run.
TOM: Well, I mean it’s OK to spend a little money in improvement if you’re going to enjoy it, right?
TOM: So what do you want to do?
E.B.: I have ancient linoleum in my little foyer.
TOM: That’s a good thing to replace.
E.B.: It’s about 1966, I would say.
E.B.: So, right now, I think it’s one of those solid sheets of linoleum. And I think that there’s some affordable ways to replace it: maybe press-and-peel or – I don’t know. What do you suggest?
TOM: Lots of options there, right? And first of all, is it flat and well-adhered to the foyer where it is right now?
E.B.: Yeah. But of course, it being all that’s kind of peeling up at one end.
TOM: Yeah. Because I’m wondering whether or not we even have to take it up. We could go on top of it and (inaudible at 0:05:37).
E.B.: Oh, I would love that. I think that would be a great solution.
LESLIE: Are you hoping to only do the foyer or continue into the rest of the space?
E.B.: The kitchen, which extends, is a small, narrow kitchen and I could theoretically extend it there. But the rest of the apartment is hardwood.
LESLIE: OK. Well, the only reason I was asking is because if you’ve got this one area peeling up – a laminate floor tends to be floating. So what’s going to happen is it’s going to fit within the parameters of that foyer space and then you’re going to use a trim piece, sort of like quarter round or a shoe molding. And that really kind of locks everything in place.
It’s not floating where you can move it like a puzzle but it does have some room around the perimeter. So you want to make sure that that area peeling up isn’t going to cause anything to lift up or do anything weird.
TOM: Yeah. Is there a transition area between this foyer and say, another floor area? Or would it be sort of between walls?
E.B.: There is definitely a transition area.
TOM: So you might need to use a saddle there, which basically covers the edge of the laminate flooring and then transitions it down on a slight angle.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And a lot of the laminate manufacturers will make a saddle. You have to make sure when you purchase the saddle that you know which type of flooring you’re going to what type of flooring. So if you’re going from a laminate to a tile or a laminate to a hardwood – because it sort of adjusts the heights on both sides of the saddle. So you want to make sure you buy the correct one for that transition.
TOM: Yeah. And if the flooring is really loose and you start to peel it up and you feel like it’s just going to come up quickly and easily, then just go ahead and take up the old stuff. But what we’re saying here is that with laminates, you really don’t have to. They’re floating floors; they’re designed to sit on top of pretty much anything that’s solid underneath. So it’s really your option, E.B.
E.B.: I’m really motivated. I think that’s great.
TOM: Alright. Good. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Good luck with your project.
E.B.: Thank you.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Roger from California on the line with a solar-power question.
ROGER: Hi. I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions or recommendations on a solar-powered attic fan. I’m looking for ways to keep my house cooler, obviously, and reduce energy costs. And I was wondering if you had any recommendations on that.
TOM: Well, if you want to save energy, my first recommendation is do not use an attic fan. An attic fan is a really bad idea and here’s why: when attic fans really get going, they tend to depressurize the attics. So they’ll take the hot air out of the attic, yes, but they’ll also reach down into your house and take the cool air out of your house.
LESLIE: That you’re paying for.
TOM: That you’re paying to air condition, right. So if you really want to take advantage of a natural way to ventilate your attic, don’t use a roof fan. What you want to do is just use continuous ridge and soffit ventilation. So you add vents to the undersides of the soffits, you add a vent to the ridge. And then as the wind blows over your house, it will pull that hot air out of the ridge and it’ll let the cool air in at the soffit. And that’s a kind of a nice 24/7, 365 way of keeping your house really, really comfortable.
LESLIE: Yeah. And if you want to think about solar, think about solar-powered water heaters or something else along those lines, where you can really have a smaller solar panel to bring in a little bit of that. And that is where you can save some energy otherwise.
TOM: Especially if there’s incentives. Because a lot of those components become expensive but the incentives make them very, very affordable.
LESLIE: Right. Alright. Well, now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Still to come, we’ve got tips on a Bluetooth-enabled tool that allows you to take accurate measurements of a room from a picture on your phone. The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues from Stanley headquarters in New Britain, Connecticut, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to 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: Hey, pick up the phone, call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll make you a deal: you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question, plus a chance to win a fantastic prize this hour. We’ve got the STANLEY FatMax Prize Pack featuring the folding, retractable, Exo-Change Utility Knife.
LESLIE: Yeah. What’s really awesome is it has an extendable, magnetic blade carriage, so it’s really fast and easy to change the blades. And you don’t ever feel like you’re going to hurt yourself, which is what always makes me nervous.
And with the Exo-Change, I don’t feel that at all. You’ve got a two-material grip. It provides comfort and reduces slipping. Quick and easy debris removal from the slider. It also includes the FatMax Tape, the FatMax Simulated Diamond-Tip Screwdrivers and a 14-ounce FatMax Anti-Vibe Hammer.
TOM: Going out to one caller drawn at random. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve been talking a lot about the rich history of this company. But in order to stay current, Stanley Tools has always been on the cutting edge of innovation. And that’s not changing anytime soon.
TOM: And one of the amazing, new products is so cool and so easy to use, it’s going to amaze you. Here to tell us about the Smart Measure Pro is Bruce Ettinger (sp), Stanley’s project manager.
TOM: So tell us about this Smart Measure Pro. You guys have just jumped leaps and bounds in developing these smart tools. And they make so many of the projects that we tackle, and used to take for granted as being difficult, really quite simple.
BRUCE: The Smart Measure Pro is actually an evolution on the Laser Distance Measurer. So, in the past, you’d be able to point your Laser Distance Measurer at an object and be able to tell how far away you are from it. With this new device, you can attach it to your phone, connect to it via Bluetooth and also get a distance measurement from where you are from a certain object. But you can now also use a picture that you would take, of that object, to measure areas.
LESLIE: So now you take a picture with the smartphone?
TOM: Oh, wow.
BRUCE: You take a picture with your smartphone and the device attached.
LESLIE: Ooh, look, they clip together. I wish you guys could see this. It clips together right to your smartphone. So now you’re going to use your iPhone, for example. You take a picture of the room.
BRUCE: Yep. You’d take picture of the room or the outside of a building, we’ll say.
BRUCE: And now you’ll …
TOM: It actually will calculate the – what, square footage, for example, if you …?
TOM: So you’re measuring for materials, whether it’s siding or paint or whatever.
BRUCE: Exactly. You’ll do a quick alignment feature. You’ll line up to a square on the building, hit Next. And then you’ll be able to go into the app and draw, say, another square, which you could put around the entirety of a house.
BRUCE: And then you could actually add cutout squares if you want to, say, to remove doors and windows.
BRUCE: And now you’ve got an accurate calculation of the square footage that you’d need to paint the outside of the house.
LESLIE: How can it measure from a picture and be accurate?
BRUCE: It takes a distance to the object that you’re taking the picture of.
BRUCE: It’s got to be a plainer object; it can’t be something that’s got a big curve to it or anything. But provided it’s somewhat flat, you can take that picture now and if you know where the – how far away you are from that object, you can use the pixels within the picture to triangulate all the different points in the picture.
TOM: I can only imagine how fantastic this is for, say, a remodeling contractor who used to travel with a clipboard and graph paper and pencils and erasers and would show up on a job and have to sketch everything out by hand. And now – snap, snap, snap, snap – you grab all these pictures.
You’ll always remember the house in every detail and if you wanted to try to recall a week later – “Did I have shutters on the house or was that the house I saw later that afternoon?” – little details like that, you go back to the pictures and you have all of the detail, all the dimensions right there. And you can basically work up your project estimate from that.
BRUCE: Exactly, exactly. So there are a couple of really cool features. Not only – you can now basically walk by a house, take a couple of pictures and actually go home before you do any of your calculations if you want.
BRUCE: All that data is stored on your phone and you can access it at any time. You no longer need the device once the picture is taken, right?
LESLIE: So it works within the app?
LESLIE: The device is just for that first initial …?
BRUCE: Exactly. It’s just for getting the initial data.
BRUCE: And then the app does all the rest of the work. So, yeah, say I was a contractor and I was going to put siding on or make estimates for a few house, I could walk down a street, take multiple pictures of multiple houses, go home, do the rest of the work via the app while I also have a subscription service for a desktop application that’ll provide a little bit better functionality and a lot more visibility. Because you’ll have a bigger screen of the computer if you want.
TOM: And the data is in the clouds, so obviously you could access it on any device at any time?
BRUCE: Yeah. So the data is in the cloud. You can actually, right from your phone if you want to, you can share the pictures with the measurements with anybody that you want via text or e-mail, PDF.
LESLIE: That’s amazing. So if you’re using a third party to get siding or roofing materials, suddenly they have all the information you need.
BRUCE: Yep. Yeah. You can send it right to them.
LESLIE: The only downside as a pro here is that now your clients see how quickly you’re turning everything around.
LESLIE: They’re going to want that bid from you like five minutes after you walk out the door.
BRUCE: Right. But we also have the estimator feature in the app. So you can now go, click Estimate, select the material that you’d like to use in doing your job, so…
LESLIE: What are your choices? Like siding, paint, flooring?
BRUCE: Yeah. Bricks, siding, flooring, tile.
TOM: So in a very short period of time, you can take the picture, grab the dimensions, do the estimate and then present it to your client?
BRUCE: Yeah, so this estimator feature in the app will actually tell you, “OK. You need 2 gallons of paint to paint the side of that house.”
LESLIE: You have to teach it how to put the mark-up in for the contractors so they don’t suddenly under-quote themselves like, “Wait. I forgot to put in money for paint.”
TOM: We’re talking to Bruce Ettinger (sp). He is the engineer behind Smart Measure Pro, a tool that makes your smartphone smarter when it comes to estimating and measuring building materials for projects around your home or perhaps if you’re a pro.
I guess this really has a pro audience?
BRUCE: Yeah. This would be a pro audience or an advanced DIY-er.
TOM: And is there anything else on the market that is similar to this?
BRUCE: No. Right now, there is nothing else on the market in retail stores that you can get that does this same functionality.
LESLIE: Is it affordable? What’s the price point?
BRUCE: It’ll be at 149.
LESLIE: But for a pro that’s nothing. That’s like a drop in the bucket.
TOM: I mean you’ll make up that money in no time at all.
BRUCE: You’ll make up that in driving alone, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, fantastic. Bruce Ettinger (sp), thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
BRUCE: Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to take a call from Lisa in Boston who’s got a question about a patio.
LISA: I have a backyard patio and it’s cracked very badly. I’d like to replace it. Can you tell me what you’d recommend: pavers, stamped concrete or maybe a composite deck board?
TOM: When a lot of concrete patios – is it a concrete patio that you have right now?
LISA: Yes it is.
TOM: So a lot of times when the concrete patios go in, they’re not very thick. They don’t usually have good bases. And as a result, over time, water gets around them, especially if you’ve got runoff that gets down there. And that’s what leads to basically the compaction and the cracking, because concrete doesn’t bend very well. It likes to crack.
LESLIE: It bends terribly.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. It’s just not that flexible. So what you need to do now is to pull that out completely. You’ll find it surprisingly easy to tear that out. You could probably do it with a sledgehammer or have …
LESLIE: And thoroughly satisfying.
TOM: And very satisfying, exactly. Get all your frustrations out.
And when you get that all broken out and pulled out, the first thing is going to be to prepare that base. But I guess before you even get there, we have to talk about deck versus patio. Is this is a self-standing patio, kind of like in the middle of your yard? Or is this coming off of the back door, Lisa?
LISA: Yes, it’s coming off the back door.
TOM: And what’s the step down from the back door to the patio?
LISA: It’s just about a ½-inch.
TOM: Alright. So you don’t want to do a deck here, because we don’t want to advocate using decks that are buried into the ground.
TOM: This is definitely going to be an opportunity for a paver patio. And I think pavers are great because they’re inexpensive, they’re fun to put together. You can do a lot of flexible things with them.
But the key comes to that installation. You’ve got to work hard to make sure that you get that base compacted properly. So you’re going to start with about 6 inches of stone. That stone is going to be compacted really well and when it’s done …
LESLIE: Well, you’re going to start with digging down.
TOM: Well, of course. Yeah. You’ve got to make room for that stone. But when you put that stone in, when it’s packed and properly tamped, it’s almost as hard as the concrete you pulled up. That’s how tough it has to be. And then on …
LESLIE: Yeah. And you can rent a tamper.
LESLIE: You can rent a mechanized tamper so you’re not walking around with one of the tamping irons, just smacking it down. You’ll need that to get it so smooth and even.
TOM: Exactly. And so once it’s tamped, then you put a thin layer of sand on it. And the sand is what you’re actually going to set the pavers in.
Now, pavers are modular. The difference between a paver brick and a regular brick is that a regular brick, when you go too wide, you have to leave room for a mortar joint to be the same distance as one long.
TOM: With paver, two wide is exactly one long, because there’s no mortar joint, right? So you’re going to position those in place. You’re going to adjust the pattern. You could use multiple-color bricks. You can use different-shape bricks. You’re going to have to do some cutting and trimming on the edges.
There’s a band that has to around the outside to support it. I can’t give you every step of the job here but conceptually, there’ll be a band that supports it. You’ll cut a few bricks to fit up against the end of it. But I think when you’re done, you’ll have a really attractive patio that will drain well and last you a super-long time.
LISA: Well, thanks so much. And I think I’ll go find a sledgehammer and get going on that.
TOM: You’ll feel so much better when you’re done.
LESLIE: You’ll be thoroughly satisfied with the demo and then you’ll be satisfied creatively because you really get an opportunity to design something so beautiful. So enjoy the project, Lisa.
Alright. Still to come, more from Stanley headquarters in New Britain, Connecticut, including what the company sees for the future of home improvement.
TOM: Also ahead, you’ll be able to save on your future electric bills with advances in LED light bulbs. We’ll be back with more from New Britain, Connecticut, the home of Stanley tools, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.
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: Coming to you today from the home of Stanley Tools, their headquarters here in New Britain, Connecticut. They’re celebrating Brand Day, a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all the brands that make this company great. They’ve been here for over 150 years and we’re hanging out with 600 or 700 of our closest, personal friends.
LESLIE: It’s amazing. I mean it’s so great. What a nice day for everybody that works here and just spends so much time manufacturing great tools, for them to learn about the other members of the brand and have a really fun time together.
Alright. Well, now we’re going to jump onto the calls. We’ve got Danielle from Philadelphia on the line. What’s going on at your money pit?
DANIELLE: Well, something big might be going on, because I have a big hill behind my house.
DANIELLE: And I just bought my home. The hill is making me pretty nervous and I’m wondering if I should do anything about it. I have a really big, level backyard that backs up to this hill. And the previous owners had installed a drainage system near the back of the property to keep the runoff from coming down toward my house.
DANIELLE: And it seems to be working, because the yard is dry, but there are two dry wells that are filled with debris and stuff. And the covers are rusted and falling apart. So, I’m nervous that this is going to be a problem and I’m wondering if I should do anything about it.
TOM: Well, I think if it’s been a problem, you probably would know that by now. I think that you would have found some evidence of water infiltration, for example, inside the house. Typically, if you called me and didn’t have any of this drainage work installed, what I would tell you to do is – it sounds like what exactly they’ve done, which is put in some sort of a drainage tray across the back of the bottom of the hill. You would put in, essentially, a curtain drain.
What happens – when you dig down about a foot by a foot – a foot deep by about a foot wide – you line it with some stone and then you set in a perforated pipe. You cover that pipe with more stone and then the water comes down the hill, fills up the pipe and then runs around. In this case, it sounds like it’s going to a dry well. But those would be important to maintain.
LESLIE: You have to really think about taking out all of the dirt and everything that – you know, just the normal debris.
TOM: Could block it.
LESLIE: Yeah, it really could block it: leaves, all of that stuff.
Now, because there is a hill, does she need a retaining wall in any way, shape or form to keep the hill back or is that just a décor?
TOM: If it’s a sloping hill down and it’s stable, then no. If you want to increase your backyard and make it, essentially, deeper, then you could build a retaining wall. But that’s a really big and expensive project, which some people do to improve their backyard but …
LESLIE: Right. But Danielle said she has a big space.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: Danielle, I think you’re in good shape. I wouldn’t be concerned unless you start seeing water inside the property.
DANIELLE: Great. So if I keep those dry-well covers taken care of and keep the drainpipes clear, I should be good?
TOM: It’s been good all this time, so I wouldn’t panic. You’re not seeing any evidence of it breaking down, so I would just go with it.
DANIELLE: Not panicking anymore.
LESLIE: Don’t panic.
TOM: That’s right. Enjoy, Danielle. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. And we’re talking a lot about innovation, so let’s take an opportunity to talk about a brand-new product from a lighting company we all know and love: GE.
Now, they’re out with a new product that’s available at The Home Depot called the GE Bright Stik LED Bulb. And what’s cool about this bulb is that it’s compact and slim in shape.
LESLIE: Yeah, it actually looks smaller than traditional LED or CFL bulbs but the brightness is the same. And the other benefit here is that the cost of this bulb is much, much more affordable. The GE LED Bright Stik costs less than $4 per bulb and uses 80-percent less energy.
TOM: And here’s another problem it solves. It’s got a very sleek shape. It’s going to fit into more lamps and fixtures. And for the ones that have more of an open look, you don’t have to worry about that weird, squiggly, CFL-styled bulb anymore.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And there’s color options, too: you can get soft-white and daylight options. The GE LED Bright Stik provides light that’s just right, exclusively at The Home Depot. Check it out at Home Depot.com.
And while we’re at it, let’s get a call here. We’ve got Brian on the line who’s got a popcorn-ceiling issue.
BRIAN: I have popcorn ceilings and my house was built in 1979. So it’s actually kind of a two-part question. Should I be worried about asbestos in that ceiling? And is there a simple way to remove that – to remove the popcorn ceilings? I’m not really sure how to go about that.
TOM: I think that 1979 is a bit late to be concerned about asbestos, so I would say probably not. But the only way you would know is if you could test it. If you took some of the ceiling and sent it to a lab, they could tell you what the material is.
Now, removing it is not that terrible a job. It’s a bit messy but the way to do it is you have to wet it down.
And the way I like to do it, Leslie, is with a garden sprayer.
LESLIE: Yeah. Or any sort of paint sprayer, garden sprayer. It’s like I know we always used (inaudible at 0:24:41) that Hudson spray pump, which essentially is a garden sprayer. You want to wet the ceiling and then you want to take a big paint scraper and just really sort of go at it in a nice, smooth angle. But don’t gouge the ceiling, because now you’re going to have a nice, smooth, ceiling surface, sort of, underneath it.
LESLIE: And you don’t want to create any divots or dings.
TOM: And after you get all of that popcorn off and it’s nice and dry, the next thing you want to do is paint it. And I would use an oil-based paint for this. I would not use a latex paint because it really is going to be thicker. It’s going to give you a smooth surface. And on top of that, use a flat ceiling paint. And the flat paint can be latex but a flat ceiling paint, because that will cover any defects that are in that ceiling.
TOM: Because invariably, you’re going to have some unevenness or something below that surface. And if it’s flat, it’s not going to catch the light. So it won’t look bad, it won’t show.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? You do have to use ceiling paint. Ceiling paint has just a different thickness to it. It adheres better overhead. Don’t skimp and save that couple bucks.
TOM: And it doesn’t get stuck in your hair as much, because it’s a lot thicker.
LESLIE: It still ends up in your hair. Somehow it always ends up in my hair.
Alright. Well, still ahead, we’re taking more of your calls. The number here is 888-MONEY-PIT. And as we continue our special, on-location broadcast from the Stanley Tools headquarters in New Britain, Connecticut – where Stanley hand tools are made in the same place that they were more than 150 years ago.
TOM: And that really is a fascinating history. I mean for 150 years for this company to be in the same town, a lot of these families go back. They have ancestors that have been working at this company. And they’re really way ahead of the game when it comes to innovation.
LESLIE: It’s really interesting. You’ve got two cousins who came together, both with a great name of Stanley, to create just a huge company that manufactures so many things worldwide and really just innovates in the cutting edge of technology: app-based web programs, cameras, things that attach to your phone. It’s really fantastic.
TOM: And then parallel to that, you had Mr. Black and Mr. Decker doing, essentially, some of the same things. And then after 150 years, they came together. This company is now Stanley Black & Decker. Lots and lots of great brands.
And I’ll tell you, for a company that stayed ahead of the curve for so many years, we wondered what the future of home improvement tools looks like. We’re going to find out when The Money Pit continues – live from New Britain, Connecticut, the home of Stanley Tools – after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to 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: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour we are giving away a fantastic set of prizes.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. We’ve got the STANLEY FatMax Prize Pack up for grabs. Now, it features the folding, retractable Exo-Change Utility Knife. And it has a really cool, extendable, magnetic blade carriage, so you can really change all the blades super fast and really easy. It’s got a two-material grip, which provides comfort and really helps you reduce slipping.
TOM: And it helps with quick and easy debris removal from the slider. You’re also going to get the FatMax Tape, which is my favorite tape measure in the world, and the FatMax Simulated Diamond-Tip Screwdrivers and the Anti-Vibe Hammer. Going out to one lucky caller drawn at random to today’s show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Well, with a company like Stanley, you know that there’s always an eye to the future. You know, there’s no way a brand survives this long without looking ahead and always being one step ahead. So, where does Stanley go from here?
TOM: Joining us now to talk about that is the director of global marketing, Tracie Gildea.
TRACIE: Hi, guys. Thanks for having me.
TOM: So, you have a nice, big party going on here today.
TRACIE: We do.
LESLIE: It’s really a nice event.
TRACIE: It’s an annual brand-education day for our local employees. So, we mix in a little bit of fun, a little education working with tools and just exposing our employees to brands and products that they may not see every day.
TOM: And one thing we’ve seen here is that this truly is a family of employees. You guys have been in this area for 150 years. There’s a lot of history here, both with the company and with the people that are behind the company.
TRACIE: Yeah. Since 1843. We’re one of the few manufacturers consistently making products in the U.S. and always in New Britain, Connecticut.
LESLIE: How many people do you have on staff here? Do you know offhand?
TRACIE: In our facilities locally, we probably have between 600 and 700 in various buildings in the area.
TOM: Wow. And what are you making right here in this facility in New Britain?
TRACIE: So we make the world’s most premium measuring tapes. So the FatMax Tape that you mentioned is made here.
LESLIE: Which we love.
TRACIE: The famous PowerLock tape is made here, as well as utility blades and knives – snap knives.
TOM: And how many facilities do you have around the world that are making tools?
TRACIE: Global factories we have in the world of hand tools and storage, over 25.
TOM: Wow, wow. That’s fantastic.
LESLIE: That’s amazing.
TOM: With everything that it’s taken for Stanley to get here right now, how do you guys continually look to the future? What do you see as sort of the next 10 years in tool development and in home improvement? What trends are you following and how are you staying on top of that?
TRACIE: Innovation is such a core part of what we do. It really starts with the end user. We spend a lot of time in the field with different types of end users, making sure that we understand how they’re really building, how are they using our tools in various settings. It could be do-it-yourself-type settings, construction, commercial settings. So it really starts with those conversations, belly to belly, with end users on a regular basis.
LESLIE: How do you find those users to go out there and sort of spy on? Do they volunteer? Are they friends of friends? Like how does this work?
TRACIE: It is amazing how passionate tool users are about their tools and their brands. So, it’s usually pretty easy to get folks to talk to you.
TRACIE: We have research teams and field teams around the country who are on job sites every day – various types of job sites – so, fortunately, we have pretty good connections to allow us to get out there and talk to folks.
TOM: I love the fact that you are continually reinventing tools that people take for granted, like the hammer. All these years, we’ve grown up swinging hammers. Then Stanley comes along and says, “I know how to do that and take the vibration out of it with the Anti-Vibe Hammer.”
TOM: And the FatMax Tape Measure. How many years do we deal with floppy tape measures? You figured out how to take the flop out of the tape measure with the FatMax.
TOM: And it’s 13-foot standout, right?
TOM: And I guess that’s what really keeps you moving, because you’re not really satisfied with leaving well enough alone. You’re always improving it, always taking advantage of more modern manufacturing techniques, more modern materials to improve the products you have now, as well as building more for the future.
TRACIE: Yeah, absolutely. I mean looking at improving our manufacturing process, making it more efficient, ensuring that we are really always investing in the R&D part of our business is a core part of who we are at Stanley.
LESLIE: Right. Now, what do you think is the biggest difference where Stanley is now from where Stanley has started?
TRACIE: Stanley was an innovator way back when and in 1843. I think it really is the broadness of the business. It truly is a global business. And it’s one of the few brands in tools that expands across all end-user bases. So you can get an average homeowner with a measuring tape in their drawer to a serious, commercial construction pro/end user maybe using the same tool. PowerLock Tape is a great example. That is kind of a universal product that spans generations and different types of end users.
TOM: And I know this is a question that’s kind of like asking you to choose your favorite child but what initiative of Stanley would you say you’re most proud of?
TRACIE: Oh, that is a hard one to answer. We have one that we’re – that I’m very proud of, which we’re executing now. And it is working with an organization called House of Heroes. They’re a veterans’ organization that serves spouses, families and former – and veterans, as well as civil servants.
We have a national contest that is running now. It started in June. It’ll run through December 1st. And at the end of it, we will choose five people around the country to have some aspect of their home residence rebuilt. So we’re …
TOM: Wow, fantastic.
TRACIE: Yeah, we’re finding people in need and that feels really good. It’s a great fit for the brand.
TOM: And you’re just a great part of the community and you’re a great part of the industry.
Tracie Gildea, Director of Global Marketing for Hand Tools and Storage, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and inviting us to be a part of Brand Day.
TRACIE: Thank you, guys. My pleasure.
TOM: Back with more from New Britain, Connecticut, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, 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: Welcome back to a very special edition of The Money Pit coming to you from Stanley headquarters in New Britain, Connecticut, the birthplace of a company that’s become synonymous with innovation and excellence.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Stanley Tools has really been a partner of The Money Pit for a long time now. And we’re so proud of that relationship. So, of course, we said yes when they asked us to help them celebrate Stanley Brand Day with the company.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question or post your question online, just like Jennifer did.
LESLIE: Alright. Jennifer writes: “Should I send in the warranty card or register with every product I buy? They always ask for a lot of personal information.” She’s (inaudible at 0:34:15) nosy-nosy.
TOM: That’s true. They do always ask for a lot of personal information and we often wonder whether it makes sense to respond to those types of inquiries.
LESLIE: Yeah. But Jennifer, if you don’t fill out the registration card and something’s recalled or something breaks or there’s a manufacturer defect, how will they know how to find you?
TOM: Well, that’s right. And let’s face it: all of these companies are protected by privacy laws these days, so I do think it’s a good idea. You know, I check the Consumer Products Safety Commission website almost every day and get an alert from them.
LESLIE: Me too.
TOM: And it’s amazing how many products are recalled for serious safety problems. And they’re from great manufacturers.
TOM: So, it’s a good way to stay in touch with them and make sure that you know what’s going on.
LESLIE: And you know what, Jennifer? You can select what recalls you want to be notified about. I always do child-care and baby stuff and all of the home improvement stuff.
LESLIE: The thing that I always laugh is when there’s a knife company recalls a knife because of laceration hazards? I’m like, “Well, it’s a knife.”
TOM: Isn’t that kind of expected?
TOM: You’ve got to hold the handle end, you know?
LESLIE: Right. Now, what about warranties, Tom? Do you think it’s worth it?
TOM: Well, I think the warranties are valid whether or not you return that card. And even though sometimes companies infer that you’ll only be covered by warranty if you do return a card, that’s just not the case. The warranties are in existence; they do exist whether or not you register the product.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got an e-mail from Sandy who writes: “We recently replaced carpeting with laminate flooring in one room of our basement. Yesterday, a pipe broke on the sump pump and flooded the basement floor.”
LESLIE: “As a result, we’re pulling out the rest of the carpeting in the basement floor and replacing it. We’re wondering if we should pull out the new laminate, as well. This is the room that all of the water went through to get to the carpet and I’m worried about mold.”
TOM: Well, first of all, if you’ve had a sudden dispersal of water, that’s covered by homeowners insurance.
TOM: So you really ought to be talking to your homeowners insurance company. But if you want to replace the carpet in your basement with laminate floor, that is a great move. Even if you hadn’t had a flood, carpet is not a good idea for a basement. I mean it’s basically mold food, because mold only needs three things to grow: water, air and organic matter. Carpet holds just that. It’s got dust, it’s got dirt. It can be very organic. Plus, the backing material on carpet is also organic, so it’s really a formula for mold.
As far as that flooded laminate flooring, typically laminate flooring will not be damaged by water like that. If you’re not seeing that it’s swollen and misformed, it might be just fine. So I don’t necessarily think you have to replace that. Of course, it might just be covered by the insurance and you’ll do it anyway. But I think it’s probably most likely going to be OK.
Sandy, thanks so much for posting your question to MoneyPit.com.
Well, fall is one of the most beautiful seasons for home decorating. You’ve got the rustic colors and the iconic images from harvest time. But do you know how to pull all those ideas from the natural world together to decorate your home for the season? Leslie does and that’s the topic of today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. Fall really is a great season. You’ve got apples and pumpkin-picking, changing leaves and of course, Halloween. But if you plan it right, there are ways that you can take your décor from Halloween all the way through Thanksgiving.
So, use those late-summer harvests. Spruce up your front entry – pumpkins, gourds, squashes, baskets of apples, all of that stuff – and think about pulling colors of those accents around your home, as well: table linens, tablecloths, towels, pillows, vases, reds, gold and oranges, beautiful tones that really speak of the season. And don’t forget to add sense of smell. Pinecones and cinnamon sticks will make it feel like fall in no time.
TOM: You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you today from New Britain, Connecticut, the home of Stanley, the company that’s been leading the industry with great tools and products for over 150 years. If you’d like to learn more about some of the products we’ve talked about today, visit StanleyTools.com.
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.)
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