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How to Pick the Perfect Paintbrush, All Natural Air Freshener, Reduce Dust in Your Home 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: Here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. But before you pick up the tools, pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 because we are here to help you get the jobs done.

    Now, speaking of jobs that might be on your to-do list, painting is a very popular project but it can be pretty physically demanding, as we always learn the day after the paint project when every muscle in your body …

    LESLIE: Your back is killing?

    TOM: Oh, yeah. It’s a killer. But the demand on your body is actually far worse when you’re not painting with the right tools. So coming up this hour, we’re going to have some tips to help you pick the perfect paintbrush because believe me, it’s a lot more complicated than you might think. And if you pick the wrong one, it’s a lot harder to do the paint project: it doesn’t go on well, it takes extra strokes and it wears you out. So we’re going to show you how to not make that mistake, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And also ahead this hour, Father’s Day, it’s not too far off so it’s really a good time to start thinking about dear old dad, so you don’t wind up picking up a tie with some crazy pattern on it, at the very last minute. And I’m sure that the handy dad in your life would love a new tool, so we’re going to give you some great ideas for that handy dad in your life, in just a little bit.

    TOM: Plus, it’s allergy season, if you haven’t noticed by all the wheezing and sneezing that’s going around. So we’ve got an idea that will help you get rid of one of the worst allergens in your house, dust, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a great prize. We are giving away a Citrus Magic prize pack worth 100 bucks. And the winner is going to get a wonderful assortment of Citrus Magic all-natural air fresheners that are going to keep your home fresh and clean-smelling all summer long.

    TOM: So let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Ray in North Carolina is dealing with some leaky gutters. Tell us what’s going on.

    RAY: Very quick question for you. I’ve got some leaky gutters. I had my gutters replaced and, to make a long story short, everything has been fine except until now that we’ve gotten some heavy rain, in between I believe the fascia and the gutter, it is leaking. And the paint on the HardiePlank has now bubbled up. So, obviously, there is water coming in between.

    There is no flashing there, if I’m using the right term. I just would assume that either the gutter is not put up there correctly or the actual shingles are not coming over far enough. Can you give me an idea of what to do?

    TOM: What you’re describing, Ray, is a very, very typical situation and generally, it happens when the gutters get overwhelmed and then the water backs up behind it. You don’t really flash gutters; you simply attach them securely. Very often, the gutter spikes, though, will loosen up and let the gutter sort of pull away. And so the secret there is to use gutter screws, which are about 7-inch-long screws, usually on a hex head, that once you attach them, they never, ever come out again.

    And of course, you need to make sure that your gutter is not obstructed in any way, allowing that water to back up. Pretty typical, though, for you to see some moisture in that space. Frankly, almost impossible to stop it from happening. It really becomes a maintenance issue but you did add – you did mention the shingle length in terms of the overlap. If the shingles are not dropped far enough into the gutters themselves, you can actually add another shingle sort of underneath what you have on the edge there, to extend it just a little bit more.

    RAY: And that would help? And the only thing is that – the only other question I have for you, when you mentioned the screws – I don’t know that much about these gutters that I have replaced. But they are seamless gutters and they seem to be up there by hangers; they’re not – I don’t know if I’m correct but they’re not …

    TOM: Yeah. So they’re – right, I know what you mean; there’s two ways to attach these. Typically, the nails go through the front of the seamless, through a thin, aluminum pipe and into the fascia. But if they’re up by hangers, then those hangers are actually underneath the shingles and sort of supporting it as it hangs off the roof.

    I would look very carefully at the overlap of the shingles because if it’s missing the gutters or if there are holes in the shingles near the edge or something like that, that could be the reason you’re getting most of that water that comes back in there.

    And remember, a lot of this also happens in the wintertime where you get ice that forms in those gutters. And then the water backs up and you could just be seeing the effects now but it could actually be happening in the colder weather.

    RAY: Exactly. Well, very good. I appreciate your help and I thank you very much. And again, I enjoy your show.

    TOM: Thanks, Ray. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    RENEE: Hi. I have a metal shower stall that I’m wanting to replace, that’s in a basement where one wall is concrete block and the drain is in concrete slab. But I’m wanting to put in – I have a real tight space that’s 36 inches, roughly, so I am – have to put the plumbing, because of where the toilet is, on the wall between the toilet and the shower stall.

    TOM: OK.

    RENEE: So what I’m wondering is, can I glue that – you know, they make that solid surface walls that you can get three walls?

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    RENEE: Can I just glue that onto that concrete block that’s been painted with enamel paint or do I have to fur it out and …?

    TOM: Here’s what I think the best way is to handle the situation. I wouldn’t put the liners in, because you don’t really have a surface to work from. I would simply consider replacing the old, metal shower stall with one of the prefabricated fiberglass ones.

    Now, they come broken down, so you have the shower pan, then you have the walls. They all assemble together nice and neat. They lock together; they’re ready to accept the shower door or shower curtain rod, if you want to use that. And it’ll give you a real permanent surface that is going to be very, very water-resistant.

    I think that if you try to kind of modify what you have right now by just adding liners to it, you’re kind of starting with a bad structure, so to speak, underneath. So I would eliminate that, go with a fiberglass shower stall and start clean. I think you’re going to be much happier in the long run if you do that.

    RENEE: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. 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, we hope you all enjoyed your wonderful Memorial Day weekend and now summer is in full swing. If there were some projects you couldn’t get to, no worries; now you’ve got a fresh slate. Let’s start this summer off on the right foot with all of your home improvement projects. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, an important segment for allergy sufferers. This time of year can be absolutely miserable but one of the main allergens in your house is dust and we’ve got a solution to cut down on that, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes, with an advanced, 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers long-lasting beauty and excellent durability. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement, your home repair or your décor questions, because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win $100 worth of Citrus Magic all-natural air-freshening products.

    I love this stuff because it is totally safe to use around kids and pets and it does not have a harsh perfume-y smell like some of the other products that have been known to pass through the air in this fairly stinky household full of kids and dogs and pets and stuff.

    LESLIE: You’re just shy of getting chickens in that house, Tom, I know it.

    You know what? It really is a great prize package and you’re going to get both the spray and the solid air freshener. And the solid, it’s awesome; we’ve been using it in our son’s room since he was born and it’s going to last up to eight weeks, depending on the size of the room that you’re using it in.

    And Citrus Magic air fresheners are great for pet odors, smoke, cooking odors and even musty, moldy smells you might get in an unused space around the house, like your basement. So pick up the phone and give us a call for your chance to win. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, the Citrus Magic line of air fresheners can be great for people who are allergic to perfumes, because the scents are made from the essential oils of citrus fruit.

    And speaking of allergens, another enemy of allergy sufferers is dust. And a major dust collector inside the house can be your blinds. That’s why we were interested, recently, to learn about a new product that is a solution for not only dust concerns but also privacy and energy-efficiency, as well. That is the new ODL add-on, door-glass blinds.

    These are cool because they fit on half-size or full-size doors. They’re easy to install and they have a dust-free way to keep the sun out. There are these fingertip controls that allow you complete privacy or a full view, with no hanging cords or banging blinds. We put one on our front door and we just totally love it. Check it out at ODL.com. That’s ODL.com.

    Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Debra calling all the way from the sunny Virgin Islands with a question about termites.

    DEBRA: I have – on my porch, I have some wooden shingles and they’re pretty weather-beaten.

    TOM: OK.

    DEBRA: So I’ve left them unfinished so that I can treat them for termites. But then, I want to revive the color and so I was wondering if I should use something like Thompson’s WaterSeal or a solid, oil-based stain.

    TOM: So these shingles are not installed yet; they’re just sitting …

    DEBRA: No, they’re installed.

    TOM: They are installed.

    DEBRA: The whole – the entire wall is wooden shingles.

    TOM: Oh, the wall? OK. Alright. So you’re looking for a way to kind of freshen up the look of the cedar shingles on your siding?

    DEBRA: Correct.

    TOM: OK. So, right now, there’s nothing on them whatsoever?

    DEBRA: No.

    TOM: Then your options are – if you want to do a clear finish, I would use boiled linseed oil. That’s an old-time finish that lasts like crazy. I had it on cedar shingles; it lasted 25 years. You don’t want to buy raw linseed oil, though; you want to make sure it’s boiled linseed oil, because the boiled linseed oil dries.

    Now, if you want to do something that has some color in it, then you could use either a semi-transparent or a solid-color exterior stain. And that will really fill in and even out the different tones in the wood but still let the grain show through.

    But I’m curious. You said that you want to protect this against termites. Are we talking about drywood termites or subterranean termites?

    DEBRA: Drywood termites.

    TOM: Yeah, which is …

    DEBRA: I was thinking about using Bora-Care or something like that?

    TOM: Yeah because that’s a big problem down in the Virgin Islands, where you have the – that warm weather. Do you have to – do you see folks that are tenting their houses from time to time, Debra?

    DEBRA: Yeah, it’s – but that’s pretty expensive and it’s not foolproof.

    TOM: Yeah.

    DEBRA: In a couple years, you have to do it again and it’s very expensive.

    TOM: Right. Yeah, I think that folks in the – most of the northern United States don’t really understand this. But drywood termites – we’re used to subterranean termites where they go back to the soil every 24 hours to get a drink.

    But when you live in a tropical environment like the Virgin Islands – also very common in Hawaii – you get drywood termites. They don’t need the water, so they land and actually infest and stay in the house. And so you have to surface-treat them or you have to tent the house and fill it with a pesticide to kill them.

    LESLIE: To actually get them out.

    TOM: Yeah. So you’re doing the smart thing kind of staying on top of it and basically minding the food supply and trying to keep those little buggers away.

    DEBRA: So if I put the boiled linseed oil, will that hamper my termite-prevention treatment?

    TOM: Will it hamper it? I don’t really know because I’ve never had this – that particular combination.

    DEBRA: OK.

    TOM: But I would say that you probably should treat for termites first and do the finish second. I would do it in that order.

    DEBRA: Right. Of course. Thank you so much for taking my call.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Debra. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    LYNN: Hi. I’ve got some sidewalks at my home that are about five years old.

    TOM: OK.

    LYNN: And when I put them in, I stained them a cranberry color with an acid stain.

    TOM: Oh. OK.


    LYNN: And I did that because here we get a lot of ice and snow and when the sun hits that in the wintertime, on that darker surface, it melts it off.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s what’s – it’s a great idea. I was thinking about that; it’s probably much warmer than surrounding surfaces that are much lighter.

    LYNN: Yes, yes. In fact, I have some regular-colored concrete adjacent to it and apron on the garage. And while the sidewalk melts off right away as soon as the sun hits it, the gray-colored concrete by the apron hardly melts at all.

    TOM: Well, good tip. Now, how can we help you?

    LYNN: Well, the sealer I put on – or the stain I put on – is an acid stain that you put on and it turns it the right color. But it’s very dull-colored and so then you put on a product. One of them is Bright Seal; it’s a concrete sealer that has a lot of solids in it, so it makes it bright-looking and nice. But that only lasts about a year and it starts to kind of flake and peel and look poor, maybe from the ultraviolet light or something. So every year, it’s a maintenance chore to redo it.

    And now I’ll be putting in some new sidewalk at a different location in a year or so and I’d like to know if there’s some sort of product that I can put on that’ll make a dark cranberry or some other dark, attractive color.

    LESLIE: Now, isn’t there a pigment that you can actually put into the concrete so that when you mix it, you’re actually mixing cranberry-colored concrete? I know I’ve seen this.

    TOM: Yeah. And you know who started that? Frank Lloyd Wright. He used to do colored concrete floors all the time; it was way ahead of his time. But somehow, he convinced the concrete companies to color it. But you certainly should be able to order the concrete already colored, just by having it added at the mix.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: And then you don’t have to deal with this.

    LYNN: I’ve seen some of that but it’s a really flat color and I’d like something a little bit more decorative.

    TOM: Right.

    LYNN: Not particularly glossy but maybe a semi-gloss or a satin, just to give it a little bit of a …

    TOM: But I don’t think you’re going to find concrete sealers with that level of detail. We’re not talking about hardwood floors here when you talk about semi-gloss or a satin. I think that if you order the concrete already stained – already dyed – and then did a pretty good job on the finish, it – you know, you could finish it and make it look very smooth and almost glossy. But the problem is that if you do that, it’s going to be slippery.

    So I think your best bet is to order it precolored from the concrete company, do a standard broom finish so that you have a little bit of abrasion there and then just enjoy it just like that. You won’t have to worry about – I think your problem is that you’ve got a sealer on there that fades out and deteriorates. But without any sealer on there and just the dark concrete, you’re not going to have the issue anymore.

    LYNN: I think I might give that a try.

    LESLIE: Louis in Florida is on the line with a painting question. How can we help you with that project?

    LOUIS: I want to say one thing for the record, first of all. Leslie, you have one sexy voice.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    LOUIS: I love listening to both of you but you’ve got him hands down.

    LESLIE: Thanks.

    TOM: I’m totally fine with that, Louis.

    LOUIS: Hey, I do have a full-sized, double garage door. It’s made of aluminum. It’s a typical, 15, 16-foot wide, 3-panel garage door made of aluminum. It has the eight little windows in the top panel and it is fading. It is not that satin, painted look anymore and I was wondering, if I repainted that – maybe even go with a little bit different color – do I just need to wash it down first or do I need to – help me if I do – remove that paint first? I really – that may seal the deal if I have to remove the paint first.

    LESLIE: Other than the sheen, Louis, there is no paint that’s sort of flaking and chipping off? It’s just an aesthetic thing that’s driving you crazy?

    LOUIS: Exactly, exactly.

    TOM: Yeah, then I think you can clean it using a TSP solution, so you get any grime that’s attached to it off. And then a light sanding and I think you can go ahead and prime over that and then paint it again.

    I would include the primer step because that’s going to make sure you get maximum adhesion. The primer is really the glue here that’s going to make the paint stick, Louis.

    LESLIE: And it’s sort of the neutral base. If you go top coat over top coat, it’s not really going to stick as well as it should. And when you go in there with that flat, neutral primer, it’s going to go on there, it’s going to stick. Plus, if you’re going with a super-saturated color, you’re going to want to tint that primer, as well, to reduce your amount of top coats and sort of give it that nice, even base.

    LOUIS: OK. Well, currently it’s white and I thought of maybe just going with an ivory: just a little bit, not quite as white. So, hopefully, one coat will do it after the primer. So I’ll be – actually be painting it twice: primer one coat and then top coat, one coat.

    TOM: And it shouldn’t – and because it’s a metal door and not an organic door like wood, you’ll find that a properly-applied paint job like that, Louis, can probably last you 8 to 10 years.

    LOUIS: OK. Well, that’s excellent. We made it in the house 13 years. The door itself has been through a couple of hurricanes and a whole bunch of Florida sun, so it’s probably time to just bite the bullet and do it.

    LESLIE: Oh, great.

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

    LESLIE: Still ahead, got a paint project to tackle? Well, it’s a lot easier when you’ve got the right tools for the job. We’re going to tell you how to pick the perfect paintbrush to make that painting project less of a chore, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

    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 we’d love to hear from you, so give us a call with your home improvement, your repair, your décor questions. Whatever you are working on, we’re going to give you a hand with that project. And one lucky caller that we talk to this hour is going to win $100 worth of Citrus Magic all-natural air-freshening products.

    And I love this stuff because it truly does work. And I’ve been using the solid air freshener around my son since he was born because babies, they bring along stinky products like diapers. And I’ve always kept one in his room and it really works so great and it’s safe to use around the kids and the pets. And the ingredients are wonderful because they’re made from essential oils of the citrus fruits, so you’re not getting that harsh perfume-y smell that just kind of covers up the odors like the other products.

    TOM: Well, you’re going to get a great assortment if you pick up the phone and call us right now and win this. It’s going to include both the spray and the solid air fresheners. You know, these products are very good for pet odors, for smoke, for cooking odors and even to help deal with the musty and moldy smell.

    So if you want to win $100 worth of Citrus Magic all-natural air-freshening products, pick up the phone and call us right now with your home improvement question. We’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and perhaps be sending that collection to you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, painting is one of the do-it-yourself projects that probably seems the simplest to do. I mean how much harder can it be than dipping a brush in a can and slapping some paint on a wall?

    TOM: And that’s exactly why it’s even more frustrating than ever when a seemingly simple project like painting comes out badly, which can happen if you start with the wrong paintbrush. Here to talk to us about that is a guy who’s had a chance to brush up on a lot of his own home improvement skills in the last eight years as host of TV’s This Old House, Kevin O’Connor.

    Hey, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Hi, guys. Great to be here.

    TOM: And Kevin, the painting aisle at the average home improvement center provides a lot of options for brushes; it’s overwhelming. How do you know which one is right for you?

    KEVIN: It can be overwhelming; there are definitely a lot of choices out there. It comes down to picking the right paintbrush and by that, I mean actually the right type of bristles on the paintbrush for whatever type of job that you’re doing, based on the paint, the stain or the finish you’re applying.

    There are two big categories: natural bristles or China bristles. These are designed for oil-based paints.

    TOM: OK.

    KEVIN: And they’re going to give you a nice, sturdy finish, an even finish. And you’re going to have to clean them up with paint thinner and turpentine.

    TOM: Now, you don’t want to use those for latex paint, because they don’t perform quite the same way, do they?

    KEVIN: No, you don’t want to use those for latex paint. For latex paints, you want to go with a synthetic bristle; those are definitely going to be best.

    And what I would say for both of these, whether they’re natural or synthetic, you definitely get what you pay for. You want to buy yourself a high-quality brush to get the best results. And you’re also going to have a lot of choices out there: what length are the bristles going to be, how many bristles are in each brush, are they angled or not? So think about those based on the job that you want to do. But splurge a little bit; get yourself a nice brush.

    LESLIE: Is the goal that you’re going to buy a brush that you hope to use over and over again rather than sort of a one-project wonder and pitch it when you’re done?

    KEVIN: There are some projects that you’re really just going to do a one-project wonder. I can imagine, as you’re going to try to stain a piece of wood and you’re probably never going to stain anything else in your house that color again, well, you might just want to get a cheap brush because it’s going to be a one-time use.

    But if you’re painting a house – interior paint, trim work, walls and stuff – you’re probably going to do that a lot over the course of many years and one brush can serve you really well. So it’s really a small investment to buy a high-quality brush if you’re going to be using it over the course of 2, 5 or 10 years.

    LESLIE: How do you best care for these brushes to ensure that you’re able to do so over time?

    TOM: Yeah because half of the time when you finish the project, no matter how hard you clean them, they seem to be stiff and crusty the next time around.

    KEVIN: Yeah, it always seems like that for us but I’ve been on a lot of job sites and I’ve seen professional painters whip out a brush that looks brand new. And then you ask these guys and they’re on their fifth or their seventh year of this thing.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    KEVIN: It means that they’ve been taking good care of it. So there are a couple tips to think about in terms of taking care of your brush. Get as much paint off the brush as possible before you even start thinking about cleaning it. Take an old piece of newspaper and scrape all that paint, pull all that paint off the brush.

    Now, if you’ve got a China-bristle brush that you’re using with oil paints, you’re going to need to use a paint thinner. Stick it in the paint thinner for a few minutes and then actually use a dab of dish soap and some warm water to get the paint thinner off of the brush. And then hang it with the bristles pointed down, to dry.

    TOM: Now, that’s a good point because gravity really does help you out here; it drains out any leftover remains of that paint and makes sure it gets out as much as possible. If you hang it with the bristles up, I would imagine the bristles can start to sort of lean over and fall and sag.

    KEVIN: Yeah.

    LESLIE: I think it’s more than that. What happens is the water or whatever that you’ve used to clean the brush sort of goes into the tine, which is that metal area that’s wrapped around, connecting the bristles to the brush handle itself. And that will expand and then the tine opens up and the bristles start to fall out, so it’s really important to hang them with the bristles down.

    KEVIN: And it’s just as important to do that with a synthetic brush, as well. With those, however, you’re not going to be using paint thinner. A little bit of warm, soapy water is going to do the trick, because it’s going to be working with latex paints. You just want to make sure that you give it a good shaking and let it dry out and also hang those things with the bristles pointing down so they dry out.

    TOM: And storage-wise, I think it’s always a good idea to put them back in those cardboard sleeves that they come in when you first buy them, because it really keeps them in good shape.

    KEVIN: Yeah, it’s a good point, Tom. I mean those cardboard sleeves, they’re not just packaging; it’s actually part of the tool and they’re designed to keep that brush in good shape, to keep their form. So make sure it’s not the first thing you throw away.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Which is generally what I tend to do when I buy a brush.

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

    KEVIN: Thanks for having me, guys.

    TOM: And you can read more about the projects taken on by the This Old House team in This Old House Magazine, which is proudly brought to you by Trex. Trex, how outdoor living should be.

    Still to come, don’t get Dad another coffee mug or a necktie, please. Get him something he can really use this Father’s Day, like some tools, perhaps, for his workshop. We’re going to have some great Father’s Day gift ideas, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac, makers of the number one-selling Guardian Series Home Standby Generators. Now introducing a full line of consumer and professional power washers. Whether you need to power it, clean it or protect it, Generac can help. Visit Generac.com to learn more.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And if you are weekend warrior, chances are you have at least one Craftsman tool in your garage or your workshop. I know that my very first power tool, which I borrowed/inherited/stole from my dad, was a Craftsman power drill. And DIYers will tell you that Craftsman is, in fact, the gold standard when it comes to power tools. And now, well, that designation is kind of official.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s right. Actually, the Craftsman brand has been singled out as America’s top power-tool brand in this year’s Harris Poll EquiTrend study. And it’s a really big deal, considering they asked 25,000 American consumers questions about commitment, connection and trust. And the winner, hands down, for power-tool brand of the year was Craftsman. So here to tell us more is Kris Malkoski, the VP and GM of the Craftsman brand.


    KRIS: Thanks so much. Hi, guys.

    TOM: You guys must be totally thrilled. Craftsman has been around for many, many years. How old is the brand now?

    KRIS: Eighty-four years old.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: Wow. Eighty-four years young and it’s been a leader that entire time.

    Kris, what has changed about the way people purchase power tools, what they look for in power tools? You must have a lot of data that’s collected over 84 years. What are people asking for today?

    KRIS: Yeah, so one of the things they always look for: an incredibly durable tool that gives them the confidence they can get the job done. And Craftsman has always delivered that. But the big trend that we’re seeing is around the area of making life easier. And so, we launched, last year in the hand-tool area, a universal concept where you could do six different heads with one wrench. And it has just been flying off the shelves, so we expanded that to sockets.

    And this whole concept of simplicity and universality also has gone into our power-tool area. You know, last year, we launched the Hammerhead, which made hammering nails simple. This year, we are launching an articulating Hammerhead so that whether you are working at a 45-degree – which is kind of an awkward angle – or straight above your head – which is a 0-degree angle – this Hammerhead will allow you to get your nail into the place you’re going with a lot of ease.

    TOM: Now, let’s talk about that. That’s kind of like an automatic hammer and if you think about all the different ways you hammer projects, of course, the easiest thing is when you have a board right in front of you on a couple of saw horses. But that doesn’t always happen.

    LESLIE: Yeah but how often does that happen?

    TOM: You’re usually up on a ladder, hanging half upside-down, trying to drive the force up over your head or …

    LESLIE: While holding things above your head.

    TOM: Right. Or you’re in a tight space and you can’t get the full swing of the hammer. That entire situation has been corrected by the Hammerhead technology, which basically does the hammering for you. All you have to do is hold the tool in place and it drives the fastener in.

    KRIS: Now, I’ve got something exciting, though. So, have you ever been doing one of these projects – let’s say you’re hammering above your head and the battery dies?

    TOM: Right. That would be bad.

    KRIS: Yeah, it’s like, “Ugh.”

    TOM: Yeah.

    KRIS: Yeah because then you have 30 minutes until you recharge, right?

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: Right. You want to go back or you’ve got to go back and, God help us, use the old-fashioned hammer.

    KRIS: Yeah, you’re right. So we are launching – it will show up at stores on May 1st – the QuickBoost Charger. And what happens is if your battery dies, you can pop it into the charger, go pop a bag of popcorn and before your bag of popcorn is done popping, your battery has recharged 25 percent, which gives you another – anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes of hammering.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Which is great. I mean that’s really such a wonderful feature to have on the battery packs. Are you planning on expanding that to the rest of the battery line?

    KRIS: You know what? The technology is in the charger, so whether you bought a NEXTEC product three years ago or you buy one tomorrow, it will charge your battery in three minutes.

    TOM: Oh, that’s great. So if you have the batteries, that’s – you’re good to go. Just need to get the QuickBoost Charger.

    KRIS: Yep.

    TOM: Great. Now you must have a lot of stuff lined up for Father’s Day that’s right around the corner. What will shoppers be seeing in the stores that’s going to be really hot?

    KRIS: Well, we’re really excited because we have a 51-Piece MAX AXESS Mechanics Tool Set. Now, this is a set that features Craftsman’s strongest- and lowest-profile ratchets with a go-through design so that it eliminates the need for a deep socket. And it’s really slim, so it has up to a 35-percent lower profile than conventional design, so you have better access to fasteners. And it’s 45-percent stronger than our most popular ratchet. We think it’s going to fly off the shelf.

    TOM: And what’s the price on that?

    KRIS: The price is 69.99 and it’s a 51-piece set.

    LESLIE: That’s great.

    KRIS: Yep. We’re excited about that.

    And then, obviously, we have the QuickBoost Charger. We are also coming out with a very exciting promotion where if you buy a Multi-Tool or a Right Angle Impact Driver, which has the most torque in its class and gets into tighter spaces, we’re going to give you a free drill.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: Wow. That’s fantastic. I tell you what, there’s no place better to shop for a Father’s Day gift than the Sears store. You guys got it all there. Lots of great promotions and again, the winner of the Harris Poll EquiTrend study for America’s top power-tool brand. That’s very, very exciting.

    Kris Malkoski, Vice President and General Manager for the Craftsman brand, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KRIS: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: And you can find more information on the Craftsman brand on their website at Craftsman.com or be one of the 300-and-some-odd-thousand fans that they have on their Facebook page. Join the group at Facebook.com/Craftsman.

    You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up, replacing outdated flooring is a great way to bring your home up to date. The hardest part of this project, though, might be getting the old floor up. We’re going to have some tricks of the trade to make that part easy, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    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 we would love for you to be part of The Money Pit community, because when you are part of The Money Pit fun, you are going to get answers and advice from our fellow DIYers out there who are also on The Money Pit community. You can post your question, you can comment about other people’s projects. You can even show off your latest project, brag about it and then share it all on Facebook. And it’s all in the really super-cool and user-friendly Community section of MoneyPit.com.

    And while you’re there, you can post your question. I’ve got one from Theresa who posted: “I have indoor/outdoor carpeting, in a room, that has been down for more than 20 years.”

    TOM: Because that’s the last time indoor/outdoor carpeting was made.

    LESLIE: I know, right? And I hope this is a porch and not the living room.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: “When trying to remove it, the top came up but the black, sticky bottom stayed on the floor. We’re now having a tough time getting it up. Any suggestions on how to make it easier?”

    TOM: You think? That stuff was designed to go down and never come up.

    LESLIE: Ugh. And never come up.

    TOM: I remember that stuff growing up. I would say two things: first of all, you want to rent a floor scraper, which is sort of like an oversized chisel, that you can really dig into some of that black stuff and get it up; and secondly, I will tell you that Goof Off, although you do need copious quantities of it, will soften anything that’s really stuck behind.

    So the key, though, is just to get enough of it out so that you don’t have bumps. And then you could put something else on top of it that would be weather-resistant but would lay flat and nice into that space.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright. Well, good luck with that project, because it is a chore to get that up.

    Alright. Now we’ve got another one from James who posted: “How would one go about renting a machine that would provide the steam necessary for a 285-degree heat to kill bed bugs?”

    I don’t think you should be renting anything that gets up to that temperature.

    TOM: Yeah. Exactly.

    And I think, James, you were reading one of the stories that we have online, when you posted this question, which is how to choose an exterminator for a bed-bug problem. And you might have missed one point and that is it’s not a DIY project, James.

    LESLIE: Mm-mm. And I don’t know if it’s steam; I think it’s just extreme heat. Because I imagine …

    TOM: Well, it’s actually kind of a – you can do it with sort of a dry steam and then there’s another technique where there is sort of like an oversized furnace. And this thing has so many BTUs that basically the exterminators wheel them in on trucks, fire them up. And these are hundreds of thousands of BTUs, like five or six times the size of the furnace that heats your house. Then they overheat the entire house and that, of course, cooks the bed bugs and then they don’t come back. But it’s not a do-it-yourself project.

    And even using the steam technique, you have to be very strategic about where you put it. So, it’s expensive equipment and it’s really not a DIY project. I would focus your energy on finding the right-experienced pest-control operating firm to take care of this problem for you and not do it yourself.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright. I’ve got another one here from SusieQ who posted: “I’ve been a DIYer for over …”

    TOM: You’re kidding. Is that really her name?

    LESLIE: That’s what she said. Hey, I could go on and be Louella if I wanted.

    TOM: Well, alright.

    LESLIE: Alright. Susie says she’s a do-it-yourselfer for 20 years and she’s got this problem area. She wants to tile in the kitchen where one part of the wall is 15 inches high and the other part is 14½. So how do you tile it without anybody noticing? What’s going on with the height difference?

    TOM: I wouldn’t fret about a ½-inch difference over 5 or 6 feet. The way to handle something like that is to essentially split the difference, which means it’s going to be a ¼-inch off on one side and a ¼-inch off on the other side. And if anybody comes into your kitchen and notices that and brings it to your attention, tell them to get a life.

    LESLIE: Seriously. And ask them to clean while they’re looking so closely.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.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.

    (theme song)


    (Copyright 2011 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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