Broadcasting From New Britain CT,The Home Of Stanley Tools.
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: And welcome to a very special edition of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We’re broadcasting today from New Britain, Connecticut, the home of Stanley Tools.
Stanley Tools has been a long-time partner with The Money Pit. We’re thrilled to be invited here today to take advantage of Brand Day. It’s a day for the Stanley team to celebrate the innovation that has made this company great.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. You know, we’re really excited to be here. We get to check out the latest and greatest in Stanley tools, learn about the history of the company and even tour the plant where some of their tools are made, right here, in the U.S.A.
TOM: Stanley is a 150-year-old company that’s dedicated to continually testing, designing and improving their products. We’re proud to be associated with them and we value their commitment to excellence.
LESLIE: And since we love their tools, we know you guys do, as well. In fact, some of you callers have a chance to win some really great tools this hour. We are giving away the STANLEY Smart Measure Pro.
Now, this is a Bluetooth-enabled device that makes taking measurements for any project just really super easy.
TOM: It’s worth $149. Going to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show. So pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Well, Stanley is always innovating and looking toward the future. But you can’t really talk about looking ahead unless you look back. And when you do look back at Stanley Tools, you find an incredible American success story and a powerhouse brand that still retains its original ideals of quality and excellence.
TOM: Now, when you have a company that can trace its roots back well over 150 years, you actually need someone to be in charge of that and tell the story through generations. So our first guest has that job. His name is Alan Martin and he is the Stanley historian.
ALAN: Hi. How are you?
TOM: We’re great. So, I guess when you have a company with such a long history, you need a historian to keep it all together, huh?
ALAN: Yeah, I suppose we do.
TOM: So, as I understand the start of this great brand of Stanley Black & Decker, there were three guys that had a lot to do with the history: Frederick Stanley, Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker. Now, I just wonder, is that where Stanley Black & Decker came from?
LESLIE: I mean those are great names. They could have had horrible last names and it would have been a whole different story.
TOM: That’s true.
LESLIE: But that just works beautifully.
TOM: So, tell us about how this all got started. What was the first – what was the very first Stanley company?
ALAN: Sure. So, we’d have to go back to 1843, when Frederick Stanley opened up his first manufacturer here in New Britain making door locks and hardware – home trimmings.
TOM: OK. So, it wasn’t even tools that you’re so famously known for today; it was door hardware.
ALAN: Wasn’t even tools, right. Right. Right. That was 1843. His cousin, Henry, operated Stanley Rule and Level Company across town. 1920, those two came together, merged and formed The Stanley Works.
TOM: So the rules and the levels, I guess, were the first hand tools, really, that you made.
ALAN: The first hand tools made by them, yes.
TOM: Any of those still around today?
TOM: That would be so cool to see, yeah.
LESLIE: And how did this partnership with Black & Decker sort of happen? Were they pals who were talking about tools?
ALAN: So that happened – I’m not sure if they were pals or not but in 2010, talked about it and then we merged.
TOM: Probably competitors.
ALAN: In 2010, it was Black & Decker.
TOM: So, it went almost a full 150 years before the merger happened.
ALAN: Been more than that, yeah. Yeah.
TOM: Wow. Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, now you’ve got all these great brands. We’re seeing them all here today, at Brand Day, under one roof.
LESLIE: Now, what is your history with Stanley? How long have you been here?
ALAN: So I’ve been with Stanley since 1986.
LESLIE: So you’ve got a little bit of history here yourself.
ALAN: About 30 years with the company. Yes, yes. Seen a lot of changes, seen a lot of innovation.
TOM: What do you think the biggest difference is between Stanley now and when you started 30 years ago?
ALAN: Well, definitely in the area of technology, where we have CAD/CAM.
ALAN: And I remember a time of drafting tables to CAD/CAM. I remember it a time of when you have fax machines until today. We all have laptop computers and whatnot.
TOM: So it’s not only the tools that have developed, it’s the process of building the tools that really have enabled this development.
ALAN: Absolutely. Yeah.
LESLIE: And I think it’s interesting. When you think about tool manufacturing, you could only modify a tool so much. But I think you really have to think about how the users are using the tool. And I think that’s really where the technology today is just playing such a huge part.
You know, I was telling Alan earlier, the Stanley Floor-Plan App, I love it. I use it all the time for my design clients, for my TV programs, whether or not I’m using it with the Laser Distance Measurer. What I think you’ve done there is so fantastic because you’ve taken something that sometimes is inaccessible to people. And you’ve made floor-plan design and layouts of windows and furnishings and all kinds of things just so easy. It’s so intuitive.
ALAN: Yes, we have. And that’s just a part of the product offering. It’s not an actual tool, per se, as a hammer or an application item but it’s used in conjunction with all of our items.
TOM: We’re talking to Alan Martin. He is the Stanley historian. He’s also a quality and reporting manager. What do you do in that role?
ALAN: That’s for the call center in customer service. So I’m responsible for keeping all the statistics and all of the reports and our standards of customer service that we have.
TOM: So you’re the detail guy.
ALAN: I am, I am.
LESLIE: So, along the lines of details, what is some unique detail about Stanley that maybe not everybody knows about but you know?
ALAN: I think – I really do think it lies in the people. I really do. Behind the scenes, there is just such a passion for excellence. We’re always trying to ensure that our products are the customers’ first choice. We excel in all areas of marketing, outstanding customer service and our innovation.
TOM: And that’s one of the things that’s made you so great.
Alan Martin, the Stanley historian, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ALAN: Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And if you’ve got something really exciting to tell Alan all about how much you love your Stanley Tools, you know where to reach him with the customer service.
TOM: And that number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s go to the phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to take a call from Christine in Chicago.
Christine, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CHRISTINE: We have old windows in our basement. They’re like those jalousie windows? And we were wondering what were the best windows to replace them with. Because we were thinking about replacing them with the glass block or just regular, I guess you’d say, basement windows. And we weren’t sure which would be the most energy-efficient.
TOM: Well, glass-block windows are great for privacy but they’re not going to give you any ventilation. I mean you’re basically blocking up the windows once you do this. And I just don’t think that’s a really good idea. Because there may be some reason, even if you don’t open the windows all the time in the basement, you may need to open them for some reason at some point in the future. I don’t think, really, you’re doing yourself any favor by using glass block.
There are very efficient basement windows that are available today that are thermal-pane windows that will do a great job of keeping the energy into that space, that are going to operate well. They’re not going to be rickety or really thin like some of the ones you have right now: some of the old, traditional ones. Installing them is a little harder than a regular window because you’ve got to usually chip out the concrete, right, around the outside and slip that in.
TOM: But a pro that does this every day will be able to build a window to fit the existing space now, so you don’t have to shop for one and hope that it exists, and install it properly. And I think you’ll be much more comfortable.
LESLIE: And I think, Christine, the important thing to also consider is – I know where I live, if you have a finished basement, for every separated room that you have, you need an egress. So you would need a basement egress window, if that’s something that you’re planning on turning into livable, usable space. So you might want to consider that now, as long as you’re doing work, because it does tend to be a big project and it can be a little bit pricey. But you’re not going to get approved for anything if that becomes livable space if you don’t have an egress.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, doing it yourself isn’t just limited to your house. Learn why keeping your car in tip-top shape pays off, too, and how the right products can help. The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues live from Stanley Tools, after this.
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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: And welcome to a very special edition of The Money Pit. We are broadcasting today from New Britain, Connecticut, the home of Stanley Tools.
Stanley Tools has been a long-time partner with us. And we are thrilled to be taking part in Brand Day here, today, for the Stanley team to celebrate all of the innovation that makes this company great.
LESLIE: That’s right. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. You are going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, we are giving away a great prize this hour. We’ve got a super-awesome, brand-new tool. It’s the Smart Measure Pro.
Now, what this does – it’s a Bluetooth-enabled device which will connect to your smartphone. And it will take all of these measurements super quick, really easy, right from a picture that you take on your phone. You can then share it online or place it on your computer to work with. You can find out how much paint you need, how many windows to buy, what size they are.
TOM: And it even tracks the location through the GPS. So you even have that information, too.
LESLIE: It’s amazing. And you know exactly where you took the picture, from what side of the house. And if you’re standing on a slight angle, it will sort of adjust for that angle, as well.
LESLIE: So, it really is an awesome product.
If you want to check it out yourself, visit StanleyTools.com. And it’s a prize worth $149.
TOM: If you’d like to win it, to be in it you’ve got to call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright. On the line, we’ve got Courtney calling in from Atlanta. How can we help you today?
COURTNEY: Hi, guys. I have a question about flooring. I have a house built in 1964 on a slab. And in the slab – encased in the slab when the house was built – is radiant, hot-water pipes. And that’s how the first floor of the home is heated. And I have ceramic tile on the – as my floor covering right now. And I want to remove it and maybe put in some ceramic, wood-looking planks: you know, the ceramic that looks like wood?
TOM: Right. Yeah, the tile that looks like wood.
COURTNEY: But I’m worried about – yeah. I’m worried about trying to get this up and not damaging what’s underneath, especially since the pipes have been in there since 1964.
TOM: OK. So, first of all, let’s just talk about your heating system. It’s a great heating system. It’s fantastic because the floor is always warm. It’s reasonably efficient. It’s great until one thing happens: until a pipe leaks or breaks. And that can eventually happen. And we don’t like to think it can but I’ve seen it happen many times. I know certain developments, that I used to cover all the time in my years as a home inspector, would have this sort of breakage happen. If it’s not happened yet, though, I wouldn’t plan for it, I wouldn’t worry about it. I would just continue to enjoy those floors.
In terms of removing the old tile, I think you’ll find that it’s surprisingly easy to get that tile up, because you’re going to break it up.
TOM: You’re not going to pry it up; you’re going to break it up in pieces.
LESLIE: You’re not saving it for another project.
TOM: And even if you end up with residual adhesive or mortar or something on that space, you can actually bring in a grinder and grind some of that down. Because you’re not anywhere near where these pipes are, Courtney. And when I say “you,” some of these tools are going to be pretty heavy, pretty messy. You may have to get some professional help but it definitely can be done. And then that new, wood-looking tile, that’s really gorgeous stuff.
LESLIE: Now, Tom, forgive me for not ever having dealt with any radiant flooring, especially of that timeframe. When you pick up the tile floor, how far down is it? Can you make a change then or adjust the type of piping that’s in there, maybe to PEX or something that’s a little bit more durable?
TOM: Not really because it’s all underneath the concrete. I mean it’s pretty deep.
LESLIE: OK. So it’s really even then under that slab.
TOM: Yeah. It is a problem if you have to drill into it or if you have to break up or you want to run some new plumbing and that sort of thing. It becomes kind of a messy job.
There’s a couple of tricks of the trade, by the way, for knowing where those pipes are. For example, if you were to spray water on the floor and have the heating system turned up really high, it will dry directly over the pipe before it’ll dry between the pipe.
LESLIE: Oh, interesting. So you could see the grid work of where everything is laid out.
TOM: You can see the – that’s right.
And then, of course, there’s all sorts of radiant tools that you can use to kind of scan and see where the pipes are, as well.
LESLIE: And Courtney, you’re making a great choice with the plank flooring.
COURTNEY: I wanted to do that across the whole first level. I was just concerned about any kind of vibrations that come from any of the work being done causing exactly what you said, like a leak or some sort of – something breaking loose.
TOM: I’d say it’s possible but not likely.
COURTNEY: OK. Great. Thank you.
TOM: Just don’t bring in a jackhammer to break up that tile.
COURTNEY: Got it.
TOM: Courtney, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
So, we are big believers in the philosophy that you can do it yourself, not only at home but also when it comes to your car. Taking care of your vehicle is just as important as keeping up your home.
LESLIE: That’s right. Well, now you can shop for all of your car-cleaning supplies, accessories and even everything you need for an oil change, right at The Home Depot. We are helping to spread the word and we even have some advice on how to do the job right when you give your car a wax.
TOM: Well, that’s right. And one of the most common mistakes in waxing is using too much product. Over-application not only wastes that wax but it also makes it harder to buff the wax off.
LESLIE: Yeah, this is an area where you’re working harder but it’s just not smarter.
LESLIE: A thin application is actually going to bond to the paint and then cure better. You might want to try Barrett-Jackson Premium Spray Wax and then use a small amount and burnish it until you really can barely see it.
TOM: Look for it in the new Auto section at Home Depot near you and online at Home Depot.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading out west to Denver where Helen is on the line. What can we help you with today?
HELEN: Hi. We purchased a home two years ago. It’s new. But before it was finished – and we didn’t get to make the choices that we would have liked. So in the master bath, we have a garden tub. We would have chosen a shower, also – a stall shower. But now we’re thinking – and we’re in our mid-50s. We’re thinking about converting this garden tub into a walk-in shower. Can we do that? Can we use the existing plumbing to do that? And down the line, would a buyer be turned off by not having a tub in the master bath?
TOM: Those are all really good questions, so let’s tackle them one at a time.
First of all, you can use the existing plumbing but that’s about the only part of that bath you will be able to use.
TOM: This is a major renovation, so don’t kid yourself. Tearing out a bathtub is tough. You have to tear out the walls, then tear out the tub. And then you will assess where the plumbing is and you’ll have to move it around to fit the new walk-in design that you’re going to use, so …
LESLIE: Overhead rain shower, side sprayers, all those wonderful things.
TOM: Yeah, that’s the good part of it because you could do all that while you have the walls torn apart.
LESLIE: It’s the human car wash.
TOM: That’s right. Which you really have to do to get that tub out, especially one of those garden tubs or sometimes we call them “Roman tubs.” Really oversized tubs.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. They’re big.
TOM: But it could be a beautiful space.
And then, I guess, to your second point, if you do do something really cool like that, I don’t think that will take away from the value at all.
LESLIE: No. I think as long as there’s a secondary bath that does have a tub in it – because chances are you’re going to be selling to a newer family with young kids.
LESLIE: They’re definitely going to want the tub. So I wouldn’t get rid of all tubs. If you’ve got a situation where there’s not any other tub in the house, then I might sort of second-guess this idea.
LESLIE: But I think a master bath with a very beautifully designed, full, grown-up, nice and wonderful shower is going to be a huge selling point.
TOM: Absolutely, Helen. So I say go for it but just – I hope you have more than one bathroom in the house.
TOM: Otherwise, it’d better get done really quick.
LESLIE: Or be very friendly with your neighbors.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Dot in Minnesota on the line. What can we do for you?
DOT: We have more than one bathroom in the house but only one toilet makes a noise when it refills.
TOM: Well, that’s really easy to fix. It’s very common to have noisy toilets and it has everything to do with the valves in the toilet.
Now, in a toilet, you have two valves that are important. You have the flush valve and that’s the flapper in the bottom of the tank.
LESLIE: Right. Makes everything go away.
TOM: And you have the fill valve.
LESLIE: Which makes everything go back.
TOM: See? Very easy. And those two valves together are maybe 20 bucks to replace them. And so …
LESLIE: Right. And you should be replacing them. I mean they get a lot of wear and tear.
TOM: They do. And if you’re going to drain the water out – turn the water off, drain that whole thing out to replace those valves – just do both of them. And I think that you’ll find it will become instantly more quiet, not to mention the fact that it probably is wasting water.
And there’s an interesting, little trick that you can do to test whether or not your toilet is leaking and wasting water. And it has to do with food coloring.
TOM: You put the food coloring in the tank and then you walk away for an hour or two or maybe overnight. If that food coloring has leaked into the bowl, that flush valve is leaking.
LESLIE: Right. And you know what? There’s so many manufacturers – is it Fluidmaster is one of the main manufacturers of all of these parts?
LESLIE: And their website, actually, has very detailed, step-by-step videos. So if you feel a little concerned that you might not have the skill set, watch the video. And it truly is a project anybody can do.
TOM: Yeah. We’ve got more tips, as well, on our website at MoneyPit.com.
You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. And today, we are doing a very special edition of the program. We are in New Britain, Connecticut. Now, this is the home of Stanley Tools. Stanley Tools has been here for over 150 years. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s a very impressive operation to be here on the floor watching these people work.
There are 600 to 700 people that work here in this facility. They make tape measures here. They make blades and all sorts of tools. And it’s just one of 25 or so plants like this across the globe. And we are here because they are celebrating Brand Day. What’s kind of cool is you get to see all the different brands that are underneath Stanley Tools: DeWALT, Proto and Lista and InnerSpace and BLACK + DECKER. It’s all here in New Britain, Connecticut.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, up next in our broadcast from the home of Stanley Tools, some home improvement trivia. Do you wonder what the first product made by Stanley Tools ever was? Well, one hint: it wasn’t really a tool after all. More from the Stanley headquarters when The Money Pit continues, after this.
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: And you’re listening to The Money Pit coming to you today on location from Stanley Tools in New Britain, Connecticut. Now, this is the birthplace of Stanley Tools. They’ve been here for over 150 years and it all started with one man and his vision for quality and excellence.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that has carried through and it’s why the STANLEY brand is alive and well today, well over 150 years later. Nearly 200 really, in fact, if you think about it.
Alright, Tom. So here’s a little trivia.
LESLIE: What were the first products manufactured by Stanley?
TOM: Well, Stanley is known for tools but I suspect it probably wasn’t a tool.
LESLIE: Well, you are correct. It’s bolts and hinges, among other stuff, with trimming, all of that. And the company has just branched out from there to include hand tools right after that.
TOM: Let’s get back to the phones now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Do you have a home improvement question? Well, we’ll try to have an answer.
TOM: Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Daniel in New York is on the line.
Daniel, how can we help you today?
DANIEL: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie. Love the show.
We’ve got water damage in our bedroom ceiling. The paint’s all cracked. The plaster cracked. I had a contractor come. He’s talking about putting mesh across the plaster and is it – skim-coating the whole ceiling before painting. I’m not sure if that’s the right approach, if I should go with that.
TOM: So, is the existing plaster damaged?
DANIEL: The old paint has bubbled. It all bubbled and then the plaster came down behind that.
DANIEL: So, I’m looking at old plaster and cracks right now.
TOM: Well, I mean skim-coating and like he’s suggesting is not a bad approach. One thing I would caution you, though, is you’ve got to get a lot of that old paint off to get adhesion of this new plaster on top of the old stuff. Otherwise, you can get some delamination but …
LESLIE: And is that what the mesh is for? Is the mesh there to sort of contain whatever might be chipping off and coming away? Or is that just really an adhesion vehicle?
TOM: That is for strength, like fiberglass, like when you put fiberglass mesh and then you put rosin on top of that?
LESLIE: Right. Right.
TOM: So you’ve got to get good adhesion and you’re not going to get that if you have, you know, 25, 35, 55 years of paint between that mesh and the original plaster. So make sure that you’ve got good adhesion. Then it can be plastered. You’re going to need multiple coats of that.
And now, here’s the most important step: when it comes time to painting, you’ve got to prime it first. If you don’t prime it, you’re not going to get an even coat of paint across that whole surface.
LESLIE: Oh, no way, because it will absorb every drop of that paint.
TOM: It seems like it’s a step you want to skip but it’s a really bad idea.
DANIEL: So I can’t just put new paint over what I’m looking at.
TOM: Well, the thing is, if it’s all cracked, then the cracks are going to show.
LESLIE: The cracks are still going to show through.
TOM: If the plaster is loose and hanging, then you can’t.
Now, if it’s just – if it’s relatively solid and you’re only dealing with the stains, you don’t care so much about the cracks, what you could do is prime it right on top of that and that will seal in the stains. And then repaint. But of course, that’s not going to improve the cracking issue.
LESLIE: And then eventually, at some point, you’re going to get delamination of the plaster and plaster pieces are going to start to fall down. And that could be dangerous, because some of them can get quite large.
TOM: That’s right.
DANIEL: Alright. Well, I think I’m going to take your advice and do it the right way.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Mark in D.C. on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
MARK: Yes. I’m putting in laminate flooring and I have a question. When you put in the laminate flooring, can you put the toilet on top of that laminate flooring, being it’s supposed to be a floating floor? Or would it be best to cut around, leaving the ¼-inch gap around the base of the toilet?
TOM: Well, the right way to do this would be to pull the toilet and adjust the flange. Now, if it’s only the laminate, you may be able to use a wax ring there. They have extra-thick wax rings that could make up that space. But the right way to do it is to bring the flange up even with the top of the floor.
LESLIE: And don’t double the wax ring.
TOM: But don’t double it, yeah. Because if you have too much wax, believe it or not, it makes it worse and starts to leak.
But you really want to have it flush. I think the idea of cutting around that – I’ve seen that done a lot of times but I think it’s really sloppy. And that’s why it’s really better to pull the toilet up. Either adjust the flange or just get the extra-thick wax ring and drop it back on top so the toilet will now actually cover the floor. And then you could put a nice bead of caulk around that base. Not that it …
LESLIE: And that’s how it’s supposed to be.
TOM: Yeah. And it’ll look nice and neat and it won’t impact negatively your house value.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Margaret on the line with a basement water issue. What’s going on?
MARGARET: My brother went away on vacation and he came back and the basement was flooded.
TOM: That’ll teach him.
MARGARET: We cleaned it up and then it flooded again. But this time, it was coming, actually, from the ground. And we think that there’s a stream that runs under the house.
TOM: Yeah, everybody thinks that when a basement floods. “It’s a stream running under the house.”
LESLIE: But it has never been there before for all the years.
TOM: Exactly. Mysteriously, right? People always think that builders choose streams and say, “Let’s put the house right there on top of the stream.”
LESLIE: “It’s a high water table.”
TOM: The truth is it probably has nothing to do with the stream. It most likely has everything to do with the rain and the control of that rainwater. So, what you want to do is first look at the gutter system. You want to make sure A) there is a gutter system B) that the gutter system is not clogged. Now that we’re moving in the fall, you’ve got to check this, sometimes, once a month to make sure it stays clog-free.
TOM: Then most importantly, look at the downspouts. Too many times, when the water comes off of the roof, it goes down the spouts and it gets discharged right into the foundation perimeter in that area. It’s just like dumping all of that water that comes across the roof right down against the wall. And then what happens is the water pushes under the wall and up through the floor. And everybody thinks it’s a stream when it’s really not.
LESLIE: Right. Especially because sometimes, if you’re actually watching it happen, you can see the water start to bubble up and come up in places that you may have never noticed before. And chances are you’ve probably had a small amount of water coming up; it just evaporates before you even notice it’s happened.
TOM: Yeah, especially if you see some of those stains on the walls.
LESLIE: Like that white mist.
TOM: Yeah, it’s like a white crust. That’s mineral salts that are left over when the water evaporates. And so it’s really a matter of just getting that outside drainage in place.
In fact, I remember years ago this happened to you, didn’t it?
LESLIE: Oh, geez. It happened in the worst way. Same thing.
TOM: And it was one blocked downspout?
LESLIE: It was a blocked downspout on the opposite corner of where the water showed up in the basement. And it was a tremendous amount of water. And just like Margaret’s brother, you know, I was away for a business trip. Came back, stepped down into the basement to put my laptop on my desk and it was like squish, squish, squish.
TOM: Squish, squish, squish.
LESLIE: And that downspout, it had gone underground and sort of went out to the street. But that whole thing was clogged up and I just never even knew it was buried under there.
TOM: Yeah. So it’s always perceived as a really expensive and complicated situation but it’s really quite straightforward.
LESLIE: It’s more annoying.
TOM: It’s just get the gutter system straightened out first. And then, by the way, after that look at the drainage. Make sure the soil around the house slopes away from the house.
Margaret, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Up next in our broadcast from the home of Stanley Tools, we’re going to talk about a new set of tools that may be all you ever need for dozens of jobs around your house. This is all when The Money Pit continues from Stanley headquarters, 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: Coming to you today from New Britain, Connecticut, the home of Stanley Tools. We’re here celebrating Brand Day with 300 to 400 of our closest, personal friends.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s really a really great event. What’s so nice is that they’ve got 600 or 700 employees here that work throughout all of the three different plants on site.
LESLIE: And they all sort of get to hang out together, enjoy great food, learn about the brands overall. It’s a nice day.
TOM: Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer, plus an opportunity to win a great prize from Stanley. We’ve got the Smart Measure Pro. It’s a Bluetooth-enabled device that connects to your smartphone, allowing quick and easy measurements of an entire area with a snap of a picture taken on your phone.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s really awesome. Then you can use the app to calculate what – how much paint you need, how big of a sign you should have on the front of the building. I mean there’s really nothing you can’t do with this app; it’s fantastic. So it’s the STANLEY Smart Measure Pro. You snap, measure, share.
To learn more, visit StanleyTools.com. And it’s a prize worth $149.
TOM: Going out to one caller. Make that you. Pick up the phone, call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, one of my favorite lines of Stanley products in my home is my STANLEY Mechanics Tool Set. This is a set that’s got everything I need to get a wide variety of projects done and it’s all contained in one, very well-organized case.
LESLIE: And you’re not even a mechanic. It’s amazing.
TOM: I am not.
LESLIE: Well, here to talk about the latest innovations in STANLEY mechanics tools is Alan English, the senior brand manager.
ALAN: Good morning. Thank you for having us.
TOM: So, tell us about the latest innovations in mechanics tools. And maybe even before you do that, kind of describe the line for those that are not familiar with it.
ALAN: Sure. So, mechanics tools are anything from ratchets, wrenches, sockets. Your standard chrome products is really how you think of it. It’s not really as much about the innovation in the product; it’s how we bring that to market. What’s the assortment? What’s the packaging? How are we making it convenient for the homeowner to really have everything they need in that one kit, accessible to them to take with them for any job around the house?
TOM: Yeah. And I wasn’t kidding, you know. When I do have to do a job around the house, it’s very convenient because I have a set of mechanics tools in a case, one of your many offerings. And I always grab that and carry it with me because I know that no matter what job it is, I’m going to find the tool that I need in that case to get that project done. It’s also the one that I grab when I have to go to somebody else’s house – friend, neighbor, parent – and tackle a project because – for the same reason: it’s in the case.
LESLIE: What’s generally included in a mechanics set?
ALAN: If you’re looking at something like a 23-piece set, you’re probably talking 1 ratchet, maybe an extension or two, an adapter and then your most commonly used socket sizes. Traditionally, either fractional sizes or metric sizes and then sometimes there’s a mix of those.
ALAN: As you move up into – up to a 200-piece-count set, you might have a lot of individual screwdriver bits and things like that. If you’re working on something, instead of having 10 different screwdrivers for a size, you’ll have one handle and the different bits to go with it. So you really have that flexibility within your set mix.
TOM: Now, the target audience for this, I guess, is quite diverse. Because this is something that would apply to a homeowner just getting started – say first house, want a small set of tools to get going – all the way up to a pro.
ALAN: Absolutely. So, our Stanley Mechanics Tool Sets are sold just the same in our industrial markets as they are in our residential, home improvement-type stores. All Stanley sockets, ratchets and wrenches are covered by a full lifetime warranty.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.
ALAN: So, anything breaks, give our customer service a call. We’ll get a replacement right out to you. It’s part of the guarantee that we stand behind our products here.
LESLIE: Now, tell us about some of the innovations. Because with ratcheting sets, sometimes you’re dealing with very tight spaces or awkward situations where you’re trying to get in with a certain hand set.
LESLIE: What have you done to sort of alleviate that?
ALAN: Absolutely. We’ve looked at the ratchet in terms of – what is that arc swing? Sometimes you just have a tiny bit of space that you’re working within, so you really want to get it – a tight fit. So we have ratchets up to 72-tooth count, which gives you only 5 degrees of swing.
ALAN: So you can get into much tighter areas with it. We have sockets of different depths. So if you were having height restrictions, whether you need a deep socket or a standard socket or maybe you need a ratcheting wrench that goes all the way around the nut and comes flush with the surface, that’s also a part of the line.
TOM: So, these have been in stores for many times but do you have some new collections that are coming out here in the fourth quarter?
ALAN: We do. We have some new mixes available at retail here in the fourth quarter for holiday. Mechanics tools are always a huge, giftable item.
LESLIE: Well, it comes in its own box.
ALAN: It comes in its own box. It’s a …
LESLIE: It’s already wrapped.
ALAN: Father’s Day and Christmas are two very peak times of the year for us for mechanics tools, just because it is such a nice package put together. And again, something you may not use every day but that nice, shiny chrome, everybody likes to have kind of that hero set within their tool shelf.
TOM: Alan English from Stanley Tools, telling us about the new STANLEY Mechanics Tools coming up in this quarter. Check them out in retailers nearby.
Thank you so much, Alan.
ALAN: Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Mike on the line.
Mike, what can we do for you today?
MIKE: Hey, I have a good question for you, I think. I have an old kitchen with a Formica countertop on it. Do I actually have to pull that all off?
TOM: You can actually go right on top of that. I’ve done that project myself. What you, of course, want to do is pull the sink out and you want to make sure that you rough up the surface a bit. But you can lay the new Formica, the new laminate right on top of the old. That will adhere with traditional contact-adhesive cement.
You may find it easier to actually pull the top off of the cabinet so you can kind of walk around it, which is pretty easy to do once the sink is gone.
TOM: But you definitely can go on top.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I think it’s important, as long as you don’t have any weird spots where pieces are missing or sort of indentations, it should go very smoothly. Now, with contact cement, remember you want it on both sides. You’ve got to give it a little minute to sort of set up. And then once it sticks, it sticks. So, be ready.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Still ahead, fall weather is perfect for so many outdoor projects, like setting a post for a birdhouse, a basketball hoop or even a new mailbox. We’re going to tell you how to set a post quickly and easily in two steps, after this.
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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: We are coming to you today from Stanley headquarters in New Britain, Connecticut, the birthplace of a company that’s become synonymous with innovation and excellence.
LESLIE: That’s right. Stanley Tools has long been a partner of The Money Pit and we are very proud of our relationship with them. So, of course, we said yes when they asked us to come here and celebrate Stanley Brand Day with the company.
TOM: Lots more to talk about, including ways to make your fall projects a lot easier. And speaking of fall, it’s the perfect time of year to learn to do one specific project that’s got lots and lots of uses: setting a post.
Now, it requires using concrete, which is why many homeowners shy away from it. But it’s really not a difficult material to use. In fact, QUIKRETE, a Money Pit sponsor, makes a fast-setting concrete that only needs 20 to 40 minutes to set completely.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, keep in mind, guys, if you can dig a hole, you can probably set a post. You just have to make sure the hole is the right size.
Now, the diameter of the hole should be three times the diameter of your post. It should be half as deep as the post height that you want above the ground.
TOM: So all you want to do is set and plumb your post – that means make it level – and then pour the QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete into the hole until it’s about 3 to 4 inches from the top. Then you just add water until it’s saturated and stir. It’s that simple. You’ll need about a gallon of water for every 50-pound bag of concrete.
LESLIE: Yeah. And the projects that you’ll be able to do are endless. Now, you can set basketball poles, fence posts, deck posts, mailboxes, bird feeders, play sets, pretty much you name it.
TOM: For more details and project ideas, visit QUIKRETE.com.
LESLIE: Alright. You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your question to us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to MoneyPit.com, just like Matthew did.
Now, Matthew writes: “I own a 19-year-old, 1,200-square-foot house that has polybutylene plumbing. We’ve had to repair two leaks recently that required breaking into the concrete slab. What is your advice on having the polybutylene plumbing replaced?”
TOM: Well, the best thing we can tell you is that it’s only going to get worse. So the sooner you can get that PB pipe replaced, the better.
Now, if the cost is going to be directly proportional to the amount of work it’ll take to get to those areas where the pipes are, as well as the cost to repair those areas once that plumber is done with the replacement – so, with all home improvement jobs, you want to choose your contractors carefully. And make sure they’re insured before you let them step foot inside your home to replace that polybutylene plumbing.
Still a lot of that stuff out there and even though much of it was covered by class-action suits that went back years, there’s just still a lot of homeowners that need to deal with it.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Sarah who writes: “Hoping you can shed some light on this concern of mine. I recently went into a bidding war on a century-old home and won. However, I discovered that the home has asbestos siding.”
I’m familiar with asbestos siding.
TOM: You’ve been down this road.
LESLIE: I’ve been down this road.
“I understand that asbestos can become airborne during removal. Can you please clarify this for me?”
TOM: So, first off, don’t panic, because asbestos contained in siding is known as cement asbestos. It’s actually far less of a risk than when used in other applications, because the asbestos fibers are bound with the siding’s cement composition. So they can’t easily be released into the air.
That being said, some municipalities treat it as if it is easily released into the air and set up lots of rules and regulations.
TOM: And that happened to you when you tried to remove the asbestos siding off of your house.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. I mean it was completely encapsulated. The siding was in perfect condition but the issue was I couldn’t insulate from the outside in or put up new siding without removing it. So you will have to check with what your village will allow and then it has to be removed properly and then disposed of properly.
TOM: And that’s the hard part because it’s got to be bagged up right, labeled right and disposed of. So it definitely is an issue but one that is not insurmountable.
Sarah, thanks so much for reaching out to us on MoneyPit.com.
Well, you’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you today from New Britain, Connecticut, the home of Stanley, a company that’s been leading industry with great tools and products for over 100 years. If you’d like to learn more about Stanley Tools, go to StanleyTools.com.
That’s all the time we have now but the show continues online. 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.)