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How to Hang Kitchen Cabinets So They are Sturdy and Secure, How to Find a Contractor for Your Home Improvement Project, How to Turn Your Garage into a Pro Workshop and more

  • Transcript

    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 we have a great show planned for you. What are you working on this fine weekend? Do you have a fall fix-up project on your to-do list? Our first order of business is to take your calls and help you get those jobs done. So pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Also ahead, we’re going to talk, this hour, about kitchen remodels. You know, a kitchen-remodeling project, that is one of the most valuable home improvement projects you can do because it always give you a great return on investment. The thing is, most people are afraid to do that project themselves but we say there are parts of it you can handle. And one part of it is replacing the kitchen cabinets. It’s really not that hard to do and we’re going to give you some tips, coming up.

    LESLIE: Now, if you don’t feel comfortable taking on your own remodel, you may want to turn to a pro for help. Now, the tricky part is finding one you can trust. Well, there is a way to make that a little bit easier and we are going to share some tips, coming up.

    TOM: Also ahead, a heads-up on a way to turn your garage into a pro workshop. There’s a new product out called the Chamberlain Garage Power Station. It’s really cool because it’s one product that has light, power and a built-in air compressor, all in one unit. It will totally set your garage up for a wide variety of projects. We’re going to have a review on that product, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: Plus, one caller we talk to this hour wins a $100 Home Depot gift card from Owens Corning. Now, you can use it to get started on an insulation project, which is going to help you save some money on those energy bills this winter.

    TOM: So, let’s get started. For advice on that insulation project or any home improvement question you’ve got going on, call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: John in Delaware is dealing with a spider problem. I can’t even talk about it for fear they will jump into my house. What’s going on?

    JOHN: I moved to the beach about 10 years ago. I’m not – I’m 12 miles from the water but I don’t know whether that’s part of the problem or not. But we have spiders inside the house all the time. They’re always in the corners of the room. It’s rare to come into any room and not have one. And it seems like as quickly as you get rid of them, a week later you have more in the same areas. And it is very annoying.

    TOM: What do you do to get rid of them, John?

    JOHN: The only thing I do is I try to kill them and knock down their little web.

    TOM: Good luck with that. That’s not working out too well for you, I bet, huh?

    JOHN: No, it’s not.

    TOM: You’re not going to win the war if that’s your treatment approach. The thing about insects today is the best way to control them is through science. And if you look at a company like Orkin, a company that’s been around forever, these guys know exactly what insecticide to put down, they know how to put it down in the right amounts and the products that they use today are very insect-specific.

    It used to be that there was sort of a broad-spectrum pesticide that was put down. Today, the pesticides are very, very specific for the problem. And if I was dealing with this in my house, I wouldn’t be running around with my boot trying to kill them all. I would have the pesticide applied in the right amounts, right place and be done with it.

    So, I would recommend that you call Orkin and have that taken care of the right way. It’s safer to do that than to buy over-the-counter pesticides which you end up over-applying – which are far more dangerous, in my view – and certainly a lot less frustrating than having to stomp them to death, OK?

    So, I would use a pesticide to control these spiders and that’s the best solution.

    JOHN: OK. And you would not advise trying to do it on your own. You’d advise getting a company that’s – would they regularly – to have them come back?

    TOM: Yeah, you can’t buy the products that a professional can buy. They’re not available to the general public because they have to be applied just right. That’s why it’s a good idea to turn to a pro like Orkin.

    John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Susan in Montana is having some drainage issues with the driveway. Tell us what’s going on.

    SUSAN: I had my office driveway resurfaced with asphalt. And I thought that the people did a really excellent job until we got a (inaudible at 0:04:59) rain and all the water was collecting. And I had to leave to go down to Colorado and I got a frantic phone call from my husband telling me that the water was backing up into the house and it was like a big pool. And I called the asphalt people and they’re not responding to me.

    TOM: Well, listen, if they just resurfaced the driveway, they’re not going to do anything to change the pitch.

    SUSAN: That’s true. They did do it but they deliberately – supposedly, they had the pitch so that it would drain off into the lawn.

    TOM: And they didn’t quite get that right. So how do you fix that?

    SUSAN: Yeah.

    TOM: If the water is draining down the driveway back towards the building – in other words, it’s never really draining off to the lawn anywhere – then what you have to do is you have to put a curtain drain in the driveway itself.

    And in a driveway, basically it’s a job where the driveway is essentially sliced in half. They slice out a chunk of driveway that’s maybe 6 inches wide and you drop this trough into it so that as the water falls down the driveway, it drops into the trough – there’s a grade on top – and then it runs out the bottom of the trough. And of course, that requires some additional plumbing, so to speak, because you have to hook it up to a drain pipe to take it to the lowest place on the property to get rid of the water. But that’s how you drain a driveway that’s not pitched properly.

    And typically, that’s put right near the house or right near the garage lip or something like that so that it catches the water at the lowest possible spot.

    SUSAN: So who would I call for something like that? A plumber?

    TOM: You’re going to need a general contractor that can install that for you. I mean a driveway-sealing company is not going to do it. A general contractor that could do that – it’s kind of a handyman project. It’s not a difficult project, it’s not a really time-consuming project but you essentially have to cut into that driveway and install a drain. You’ve got to catch that water and you’ve got to manage it. And that’s the only way to do it, Susan.

    Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Well, September is almost behind us, which puts us to my favorite time of year: Halloween. If you need some help with your fall fix-ups and getting your home all autumn-ready, we are here to help you do just that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, is replacing your kitchen cabinets a do-it-yourself project? Well, it might just be. Learn why, after this.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Chamberlain Garage Power Station, an air inflator, utility cord, and LED task light all together in a new, 3-in-1 tool. Exclusively at The Home Depot.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number to call here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller who gets on the air with us this hour is going to win a $100 gift card to The Home Depot from our friends at Owens Corning. And you can use it to add some insulation to your attic, which is a really quick and easy way to help you save on those heating and cooling costs. And it will help you maintain a warm, comfortable home this winter.

    TOM: And Owens Corning makes a very environmentally-friendly insulation called EcoTouch. More than half of it is made of recycled materials. It’s like 99-percent natural. And what I like about it is it’s really soft to the touch and formaldehyde-free, so it makes that project so much easier.

    If you’d like to learn more, you can check that product out by calling 888-GET-PINK. Or give us a call right now for your chance to win that $100 gift card from Owens Corning to The Home Depot. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Laurel in Pennsylvania is on the line.

    And I’m reading, Laurel, that your ceiling fell down? What the heck happened to your apartment?

    LAUREL: Well, the lady upstairs had a problem in her kitchen and her bathroom. And I don’t know if there was a fire or what but she flooded the upstairs. And so some of my kitchen ceiling fell in with all the water coming down. It smells like smoke, it smells like rotted wood, wet wood. What do I do?

    TOM: Well, by the way, why are you dealing with this as opposed to a landlord or an insurance company?

    LAUREL: Well, he swept it up and then put another – put a new tile in the suspended ceiling and that was it. He didn’t repair the whole …

    TOM: Well, first of all, you asked about smoke smell and the way to deal with smoke smell is to use TSP and scrub the walls and scrub the ceiling. Trisodium phosphate. That will cut through the tar and the nicotine that sticks to the walls.

    Now, if you’re concerned about mold, there’s a product called Concrobium, which is excellent. Specifically designed to kill the mold. It’s far more effective than bleach. And the other quality I like about Concrobium is it leaves a protective coating on the surface when it dries so that the mold can’t grow back.

    Their website is CureMyMold.com – C-u-r-e – CureMyMold.com. Check it out. I think that that is the solution to your mold issue, Laurel.

    LESLIE: Kitchen renovations are one of the most valuable home improvement projects because an upgraded kitchen will always deliver a really great return on investment when it comes time to sell your home.

    Now, if that’s a project that you’re tackling yourself, you really need to make sure that your cabinets are hung securely because you don’t want them falling down. Because you’re totally going to load them up with a million dishes and if you’re like me, with two small kids, more cups than I think you could ever use in your entire lifetime.

    So, we’ve got an installation tip for you here, presented by LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive.

    TOM: And that’s a great product to use for this project. So if you’re going to install cabinets or even for countertops, what you want to do is apply a ¼-inch bead of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive to those contact areas. So you place it on the back of the cabinets or the countertop, then you press those pieces firmly into place. And then attach the cabinets to the wall or the studs with screws.

    The addition of the adhesive and the screws gives you total security and makes sure those cabinets simply will not fall down. It really does a great job and gives you a more durable finished product. You can put anything you need to inside them; you’re not going to worry about it. The cabinets aren’t going anywhere.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, you really want to keep just some LIQUID NAILS Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive kind of handy because it’s really a go-to product for indoors and outdoors. And it’s going to bond, truly, a wide range of construction materials.

    TOM: You can get more tips and tricks, plus more details on LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.com.

    LESLIE: Steven in Illinois needs some help with a swimming pool. Tell us what’s going on.

    STEVEN: We’re just wondering if you had any sort of creative ideas about how we might deal with a pool. We get to use it about four months out of the year and my wife – I told my wife that I was going to make this call and she said, “Well, what they’ll do is they’ll tell you to sell the house.”

    TOM: Or I’d tell you to hire a pool boy.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: Now, look, Steven, taking care of pools, as you’re well aware, it’s a lot of work. And when you live in the North like, yeah, you do, you’re only going to get four months out of it. It seems like it’s even more work. And if it’s getting to be too much for you, I would definitely tell you to hire a pool-maintenance company because there’s no way to get around the amount of maintenance it takes to manage that pool.

    And to your wife’s point about, well, sell the house, my question to be is: is the pool going to add to the value of the house? “Not always” is the answer when you live in the Northeast. Now, when you live down in sort of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, pools down there are much more commonplace in terms of it’s almost expected to have a pool with the house, like you have central air conditioning. But the farther north you get, some people just don’t like pools.

    I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector in the Northeast and I would get, on a fairly regular basis, a buyer of a home say, “I love everything about this house except for the pool. How do I get rid of it?”

    LESLIE: And it’s amazing – insurance costs. My sister’s home has a pool and when they were shopping for homeowners insurance, the prices she was getting quoted were just insane because of the pool.

    TOM: Right, exactly. So I really think it’s time for you to turn to a professional maintenance company because there’s just no way around it. Pools are a lot of work.

    Steve, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Nancy in Pennsylvania is on the line and having a hot-water issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    NANCY: Well, my hot water takes so long to – or my water takes so long to get hot when I turn on the spigot. And washing the dishes by hand makes that – I waste a lot of water that way.

    LESLIE: Nancy, is this a new problem or has this always been the situation?

    NANCY: No, it’s an old problem.

    TOM: Yeah. And it has to do with the physical distance between the faucet and the water heater. The farther they are apart, the longer you have to wait for the water to heat up.

    Now, newer water heaters today, and especially the tankless water heaters, are very small. And so the way a lot of builders are addressing this is they’re putting in multiple water heaters closer to the bathing or the washing areas of the house. So, typically, you’d have one for the kitchen and maybe the laundry area and you’d have another one for bathrooms. Because these water heaters are so small and so efficient, they can literally squeeze into anything that’s smaller than a closet.

    In your case, though, it’s just a matter of the distance that the water has to travel. Unfortunately, in a house like this, though, I would say that it’s unlikely you will save enough money in water costs to make the installation of an additional water heater worthwhile, Nancy.

    NANCY: But is there anything else I can do? Like I have been told, different times, that insulating the pipes wouldn’t help or some people say it would.

    TOM: Well, the only thing that insulating the pipes will do is it’ll keep the water that’s in the pipes, once it gets there, warmer longer. But again, it’s a distance thing. You turn the faucet on, the water starts to move from the water heater, where it’s hot, to the faucet. And it has to purge all of that cold water along the way. Once it purges, it’ll stay hot but it just takes a certain amount of time for that amount of water – that amount of volume of water – to move through the pipes.

    Does that make sense, Nancy?

    NANCY: Yeah, it does. And so there’s basically nothing I can do except different water …

    TOM: Well, except moving a water heater closer to the – to you. I mean there are recirculators that sort of take water and recirculate it back all the time. But again, that costs energy, too, and that costs plumbing expense, too. And I just don’t think you’re going to save enough to make it worthwhile.

    Nancy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Mike in North Carolina who’s got a driveway question. Drive it on over. What can we do for you, bud?

    MIKE: I had put in a new plant – or got ready to put a new plant in front of the house. And when I took the old one out, there was a crack in the foundation and also a pretty good-sized void underneath the driveway. And I’ve had three different companies out to take a look at it and after all that, I don’t quite know what to do.

    TOM: OK. So this crack is in your foundation? It’s on your basement wall? Where are you seeing it – or on the outside wall? Describe it.

    MIKE: It’s on the outside wall in the corner of the garage.

    TOM: Alright. And you’ve got a driveway near there where the driveway is sunken in a bit? It sounds to me like you’ve got a water problem where water is collecting in that area. May have undermined some of the soil. Small cracks – is it vertical cracks – small vertical cracks are what it is?

    MIKE: Vertical crack, yes.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s a very minor, very almost commonplace kind of a crack, so I wouldn’t get too terribly worked up about it. You’d be surprised how many cracks foundations have. We see them all the time. So, I wouldn’t panic about it. But if you’ve got an area that’s sunken in where the driveway is, what you are going to have to do is cut that driveway out, fill that area in, tamp it down, pack it properly and have the driveway restored in that particular area.

    MIKE: The driveway hasn’t sunk yet. It’s just where it always has been.

    TOM: Well, when you just said before – when you said before that there was an area that was sunken in, you did not mean the driveway? What’s sunken in?

    MIKE: No, no. Actually, there’s a void underneath the driveway. You can see where the driveway pad comes up to the garage – when I took this plant out, you can see a void underneath the driveway.

    TOM: OK. So the void’s under the apron, is what you’re saying.

    MIKE: Correct, yes.

    TOM: It’s under – OK. Alright. Same advice. You’ve got to fill the void in or the driveway will drop into that spot, OK? And water will continue to collect there and it’ll wash out what’s left of the footing around there – the soil under the footing – then you get more shifting. So, you’ve got to restore that soil.

    Not unusual because a lot of times you get organic matter that gets in there. It could be, I don’t know, wood. It could be paper. It could be anything that was accumulating there from when the foundation was dug. And then it rots away and the voids form and the water gets in there and it’s kind of a vicious cycle. So you need to get that repacked with soil properly and then regraded to slope away and then restore the driveway.

    So I don’t think you have a big problem there. I think you have sort of a medium-sized maintenance problem but you should do it because it can get worse if you ignore it.

    MIKE: Yeah, OK.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now, while we encourage doing it yourself, we’re really going to be the first people to tell you to get help if you don’t feel comfortable taking on a project. So, up next, we’re going to tell you how to find the right contractor for your job.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air, online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And speaking of online, you can follow The Money Pit’s Pinterest page and get great ideas on everything from outdoor entertaining to energy efficiency. You can also pin articles, blogs and more directly from our website with our Pin It button, then share those tips or add your own great ideas to our boards. Find it all, on the official Money Pit Pinterest page.

    LESLIE: Well, when it comes to starting a home improvement project, one of the first super-important decisions you need to make is really to decide can you do it yourself or should you hire a pro?

    TOM: Definitely. But if you decide to hire a pro, how do you find the right one for your project? Joining us now are two experts who know a lot about that topic: Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a website devoted to helping consumers find the best professionals for their projects and service needs, and Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Angie.

    ANGIE: Well, thanks for having me on the show. It’s nice to be here.

    TOM: And hello, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Hi there.

    TOM: Now, how did you get started with Angie’s List? Can you tell us about maybe some of the early years, before the internet really changed the way consumers are searching for contractors?

    ANGIE: Angie’s List started 17 years ago. We started in 1995 as a magazine and a call-in service. You know, we really felt like there should be a better way for consumers to share information with one another about the local service companies they were hiring. My co-founder was actually in the process of renovating an old house in Columbus, Ohio and was having trouble with a heating-and-cooling company. So we thought there should just be better information available to make these important decisions.

    So we started collecting reviews on local service companies and this was pre-internet days. So consumers would call in to find out which companies were the best and then, obviously, as the internet evolved, it turned into a great expansion opportunity for our business.

    KEVIN: One of the ways most people seem to find contractors, at least for decades, was to ask a friend or a neighbor because those are the people who they trust. How does that sense of trust come through when you’re doing a search process online?

    ANGIE: At Angie’s List, we are really trying to magnify that same word-of-mouth networking people have done all the years: ask your neighbors, ask your co-workers who they’ve used. The problem is, as an individual consumer, the number of experiences you might be able to tap into can be somewhat limited. So by aggregating experiences from thousands of people within a city, you can get a lot better picture of the local service landscape. And the idea of getting trusted information has always been a foundation of Angie’s List.

    For example, we do not allow anonymous reviews. Consumers join Angie’s List. We allow companies to respond to reviews. All of this foundation is really what leads to consumers getting really good, reliable information.

    TOM: Now, what about references? We always get the advice to check references but what questions should you really be asking?

    ANGIE: Well, when a consumer is thinking about checking references, I always remind them every company should have references. And if they’re not willing to give you references, that’s a red flag. But also keep in mind they’re probably giving you some of their best customers, so ask very open-ended questions about the experience instead of yes/no. Because you’ll oftentimes get someone talking and get a better, holistic view of the experience.

    Additionally, when you’re asking about references – especially on a remodel job, for example – ask for a reference for someone that maybe the contractor is currently doing work with, maybe someone who had – they did work with potentially – just finished a job on. And then find someone that they did work for maybe six months ago because that’ll really help you get a better perspective on what it’s like within the job, how the contractor finished up last-minute things and then, also, how the project held up over time.

    KEVIN: I suspect you guys get lots of reviews on your website? I mean are there any surprises out there? Anything surprising that your members have to say?

    ANGIE: Yeah, I think one of the things that, over the years, has always, always just kind of perplexed me was just the fact that probably the biggest complaint that we get is that service companies don’t return phone calls. So we’re always looking for ways to help that communication process because even today, it can be – it could be a little less than perfect.

    So, we know that consumers are busy and wanting to hire services, so how do we make sure that they get connected quickly to great companies?

    LESLIE: So what if you’ve got a member that’s got a concern with a business? Do you then go ahead and help that member get that issue resolved?

    ANGIE: If a consumer does have a – gives a low grade on a company, we always offer our complaint-resolution service where we will reach out to the company on the consumer’s behalf. We’ll ask the consumer to articulate what an acceptable resolution would be for the situation and then we’ll step in as that independent third party, which a lot of times can help in that communication process.

    Because many times, I find that it’s a miscommunication – is kind of what led them to the problem at hand. And then we’ll work to get that resolution the consumer is looking for. And we have a lot of success with that just because of the strength of the member base. Then, if a company fails to respond to us or if they agree to fix something and then back out on that fix, they’ll end up in our penalty box and nobody wants to be in the penalty box.

    TOM: Now, Angie, so many consumers today are looking for ways to kind of go green with their home improvement projects. Do you help them identify contractors that really specialize in sort of being eco-friendly in doing those improvements?

    ANGIE: Well, the trend we’re seeing more and more these days is consumers looking for eco-friendly contractors and that’s also a designation that we show on Angie’s List. And that has been a growing phenomenon and a great way for consumers to think about how they can do renovations and also be good to the environment.

    TOM: We’re talking with Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, and Angie Hicks, the founder of AngiesList.com, about how Angie’s List helps consumers find the best home improvement contractors for their projects.

    Kevin, let me ask this question to you. One of the most common things that I’m asked about is: do I know a good contractor to do something? This is a long process involved in finding that right guy. There’s a lot of relationships involved; there’s a lot of tools, like Angie’s List, that can help. Once you find them, you like to hold on to them, right?

    KEVIN: You definitely want to hold on to them. If you have a good experience with a contractor who does work in your house, chances are you’re going to need work done again in the future and you’re going to want to go back to that person who you trust. I think about my own experience on the show.

    First of all, the guys that I work with regularly have been on the show for 33 years. They’ve been doing it forever. But we’ve got lots of other people who they work with – subcontractors and such – and they’re the same folks who we invite back year after year after year. They perform well, they’re trustworthy, they get the job done. You don’t want to take those guys out of your Rolodex. It’s a long-term relationship that you’re setting up, so go into it thinking about it that way.

    TOM: Great advice. Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KEVIN: My pleasure. Great to be here.

    TOM: And Angie Hicks, the founder of AngiesList.com, thanks so much for filling us in on the best way to find a pro to help with your project.

    ANGIE: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos on many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com. And for help finding a great pro to tackle your project, visit AngiesList.com.

    TOM: And Ask This Old House is also brought to you by Angie’s List. Angie’s List, reviews you can trust.

    Up next, do you have enough attic insulation to really save on energy bills this winter? We’re going to tell you how to make sure you are totally covered, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Arrow Sheds, the leader in steel storage sheds and buildings. Steel sheds are durable, secure and a great value. Arrow Storage Products, available at national home centers, hardware stores and online. See a complete line of products at Sheds.com.

    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: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We would love to talk with you about your home improvement project. We will help solve your do-it-yourself dilemma and we could give you a $100 Home Depot gift card, courtesy of Owens Corning.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, you can use it to get started on your insulation project, which is perfect for this time of year, because adding attic insulation is really one of the cheapest and easiest ways that you can cut those energy costs this winter. And most of you listening right now probably do not have enough attic insulation and I mean not nearly enough.

    TOM: And EcoTouch Insulation by Owens Corning is great. It’s made with 99-percent natural content. You can visit HomeDepot.com/Insulation for how-to videos and Owens Corning product information. Or call us right now for your chance to win. That $100 Home Depot gift card is going out to one lucky caller, courtesy of Owens Corning. The number, again: 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, 50 to 70 percent of the energy used in our homes is devoted to heating or cooling. Now, that makes it the largest energy expense for most homes. Now, there are a lot of ways to cut costs but one of the simplest ways is to just add insulation. So here are some tips on how to get that job done, according to the experts at Owens Corning, who make a product called EcoTouch Insulation.

    LESLIE: That’s right. First of all, you’re going to need to head up to your attic and check out, really, how much insulation you’ve already got up there. Now, if you can actually see the floor joists, you need to add more insulation. And most houses are going to require about 15 or more inches of insulation. So, if you’re going to be adding more, maybe you want to consider Owens Corning EcoTouch Insulation.

    Now, it’s soft to the touch; it’s not scratchy. So that’s really going to make it easy to cut and install. There’s also far less dust and it’s designed with the environment in mind because it’s formaldehyde-free and it’s got more than 99-percent natural ingredients. And it has a minimum of 58-percent recycled content, plus it’s GREENGUARD-certified, so you know it’s an eco-friendly product.

    TOM: Yeah. And by properly insulating and air-sealing your home, you can really create a more comfortable and consistent indoor climate. You’ll also significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency.

    Now, you can get Owens Corning EcoTouch Insulation at any Home Depot location. Simply visit HomeDepot.com/Insulation for product information and how-to videos. And if you’d like more information or you have questions about insulation, dial Owens Corning up at 800-GET-PINK. The experts at Owens Corning are available to give you the advice you need.

    LESLIE: Cal in Colorado, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    CAL: Well, I have an interesting question here. I’ve got a house with an insulated concrete foam basement wall. That’s where you put concrete in between foam. And I have taken the outside wall – the foam – and have scored it with 30-grit sandpaper to give it a rough edge. And I screwed on the 2-foot-wide by 8-foot-long extruded aluminum – or steel screen to give me grip. But I’m putting on fake stone or faux stone, as some call it.

    And my question is – after I’ve screwed on the screening and I’m putting on – I’ve been told to take a Type S mix, which is a limestone/cement mix, and use that as my scratch coat. And the question is: how soon – what is the longest I can wait before I put on the stone? If I try to do all the scratch coat first, which could be a day or two because it’s over 1,000 square feet, am I going too long or should I be putting – buttering up the stone and putting that against the scratch coat right away?

    TOM: I think that as soon as the scratch coat dries, you can go forward with the stone. But typically, most masons will do the scratch coat first and then do the stone thereafter.

    CAL: OK.

    TOM: I don’t see any reason that you can’t have it exposed for a short period of time.

    CAL: OK. So, we’re not worried about a day or two.

    TOM: No, certainly not. You kidding? The way construction projects go, a day or two is like nothing.

    CAL: OK. Well, thanks for the info on that.

    TOM: Alright, Cal. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, an easy way to convert your garage into the workspace of your dreams.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Owens Corning and The Home Depot, offering insulation products that make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. What’s your insulation project? Learn more. Visit HomeDepot.OwensCorning.com today.

    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.

    Well, the garage is becoming the latest space that homeowners are personalizing to the max. Let’s call it “the last frontier” when it comes to usable space in your home. And one way to really trick it out is with a workstation for crafts or do-it-yourself projects. All you need is a work surface, tool storage and power.

    So, our next guest has a 3-in-1 solution for weekend warriors looking to trick-out their garage. Kevin Yeh is here from Chamberlain with details on the new Chamberlain Garage Power Station.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Thank you. Good to be here.

    LESLIE: I mean I’m amazed when I talk to people about makeover projects and reclaiming spaces and repurposing, the garage has become sort of this new area that people really want to take back. Why is that?

    KEVIN: Well, I think, as we look at smaller homes and Americans can be accumulating more stuff, there’s only a certain amount of space where you can put it. And the garage, in addition to your closets, is certainly one of those areas where people, you know, put a lot of the stuff they buy. So you’re right: the garage is getting more and more used and often more and more cluttered.

    LESLIE: It really is and I feel like everything that you want to keep in your garage requires some sort of power station. There’s a lot of things that need a surface. You almost run out of space if you actually want to do anything on a surface to achieve a project, be it gardening or construction.

    KEVIN: That’s right. That’s absolutely right. When you are working in your garage, you need a variety of tools to assist you. Three of the most common things we found when spending time in garages is that people are often using air, power and lighting to help with their daily tasks, like you said, whether it be gardening in the corner of your garage where it’s not as well-lit or pumping up a bike tire or a sports ball or even just using an extension cord while you’re doing work in your garage.

    You’re absolutely right: people are spending a lot more time and doing a lot of work in their garage. And they’re often using one of those three things to assist in their work, be it air, power or lights.

    LESLIE: Tell me about the Chamberlain Garage Power Station. This sort of puts everything you need into one place, up in the ceiling. Is it something that I install myself? Does this need to be hardwired to anything or is this just – you pick it up at a big-box store and install it and you’re good to go?

    KEVIN: Yeah, you pick it up at a big-box store. Right now, we’re sold exclusively at The Home Depot.

    LESLIE: Oh, great.

    KEVIN: And it plugs into your existing wall outlets, which there’s generally one by your garage-door opener or some people have multiple outlets. But it is intended to be plugged into an existing outlet and you – just one or two people can mount it to a space on the ceiling, as long as it’s within 6 feet of a power outlet.

    LESLIE: That’s fantastic.

    KEVIN: And now, what the Garage Power Station does – I’ll just go in order, for air, power and light. There’s a 100-psi – of course, pound per square inch – inflator built inside. So that’s enough power to fill up a flat tire or to top off a tire that may need a little bit more air during the winter months when the cold air gets down to your car tires. You can pump up sports balls and bike tires and inflatable pool toys or even an air mattress.

    So just having that air capacity always within reach and overhead is something that people really, really liked. So you don’t have to go searching for your inflator or your bike pump or your sports-ball pump. So that’s the thing we found out people really like is that they have that air always within reach.

    LESLIE: Now, Kevin, the cable or the air hose, is that retractable? Is that something that sort of clips on? Is that something you’re dealing with every single time or is that always at hand on the power station?

    KEVIN: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s a 25-foot, auto-retractable utility cord. So every time you pull it out, you can lock it in the position that you need it and when you’re done with it, you pull it out just an inch or two farther and it’ll auto-retract back. So what we really heard from people who have used this is they love the feature of this thing putting itself away. So you’re right: it is a 25-foot, auto-retractable utility cord which – and again, there’s nothing better than having something put itself away.

    LESLIE: That’s great. And the Garage Power Station runs for how much?

    KEVIN: $129 at Home Depot. And what we found out is if you were going to buy the 100-psi inflator, if you were going to buy a 25-foot, 10-amp extension cord, if you were going to buy 100 watts of light plus 100,000 hours of LED lighting, you would be spending close to $190 or $200 if bought separately.

    LESLIE: So this really is a great value and super-convenient to make your garage the absolute power station. Kevin Yeh, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    You can check out the Chamberlain Garage Power Station at Chamberlain.com.

    Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KEVIN: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 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.


    (Copyright 2013 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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