How to Pick the Right Paint Color for Your Home, Kitchen Countertops That Let You Go Green, Fighting Pet Hair Robotically, 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: Standing by to help you tackle your home improvement projects. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We are standing by to help you get the job done. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a direct-it-yourselfer, we are here to help you take that first, all-important step and get started on your project with the right advice, the right tools, the right tips to make sure it’s an absolute, positive success for you.

    Hey, a new survey says that the number of people doing do-it-yourself home improvement projects is way up. And this hour, we’re going to help out all of you DIYers by telling you about the coolest, newest home improvement products that are out there.

    LESLIE: That’s right. It’s our Spring Home Improvement Show and we’re going to tell you about products like a kitchen countertop that can help you go green and an automatic vacuum cleaner that really sucks, in a good way.

    TOM: In a good way, though, right?

    And also, we’re going to talk about an easier way to choose just the right paint color for your walls and what that color actually symbolizes: a little psychology of color for you. But we’re going to kick things off this hour by talking about our favorite topic: tools.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And to do that, we welcome tool expert, Todd Langston, and he is the director of brand marketing for Stanley Black & Decker and here to highlight some of the new and innovative products coming out from Stanley, DeWALT, Bostitch and Black & Decker.

    Welcome, Todd.

    TODD: Thank you very much for having me. I’m glad to hear that tools are your favorite topic.

    TOM: Well, absolutely. And thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. And first off, I want to congratulate you because we understand you’ve just had a baby boy.

    TODD: I did. Thank you very much. We’re having a lot of fun at home.

    TOM: And you’re going to have a lot of projects to build as those kids get bigger. So let’s start by talking about not construction, Todd, but sort of the deconstruction part that has to precede. You guys have a new product, that’s out from Stanley, called the FuBar, that really helps us take apart what’s there so we can get down to the studs or whatever we have to get to to start a new project. Tell me about that.

    TODD: This new FuBar – it’s called a FuBar Demo Bar – and we have a different meaning for FuBar. It’s a functional utility bar, rather than what we think of in college. But this tool is – it’s shaped like – it’s P-shaped, kind of. It’s like – it’s a tool that allows you to strike, pull, pry, chisel and chop materials apart.

    LESLIE: It looks menacing but it gets the job done.

    TODD: It is. It’s a fantastic tool that when you’re trying to build a deck and you need to rip something out of the way, whether that’s outside or inside – if you’re trying to cut through drywall, this is the perfect tool that allows you to do it, because you can strike it with a hammer and it makes clean cuts in the drywall but it also is able to rip apart 2-by or anything else that you need to get through.

    TOM: You know, to me, it’s sort of the go-to tool. Like it’s the one tool I’m going to keep in my tool box now because I know that no matter what I have to take apart, this has a way to help me do that quickly and efficiently. And it was also named by Popular Science in the Best of What’s New Awards, so that’s a terrific award for this particular product.

    TODD: We’re very proud of that. We’re very proud of it. I think you’d have to have three different tools to replace what this one can do.

    LESLIE: And Todd, I’m always amazed that hammers have been around since the beginning of construction, essentially, but there’s always something new and innovative. And DeWALT has a great, new MIG hammer, right?

    TODD: Yeah. The MIG Weld Hammer is one of those hammers that’s very special and that’s another winner in our book. Because the thing about hammers is you see now there’s – the titanium hammers have really been something that’s been popular in the market the past few years. But the problem is they cost $350 or more.

    And we were able to replace the benefits of that with actually a superior design, because it’s made of steel – it’s a one-piece steel hammer that’s welded with a MIG weld process – and it takes – it feels and acts like a 28-ounce hammer but it only weighs 15 ounces. And that’s huge because you’re still able to get the speed and the velocity that you need but you’re doing it because you have a lighter-weight design.

    TOM: Yeah. And about half the weight of a standard framing hammer. That means you’re going to be – it’s going to be a lot easier on your shoulders and your forearms and your back, especially if you’re the kind of pro that wants to use that all day long.

    TODD: Exactly. You know what? Another thing that’s good about it is instead of paying $350 for it, you’re paying about 60 bucks, which is still a lot to pay for a hammer.

    LESLIE: Well, that’s great.

    TODD: But if you’re one of these people that want the best tool out there and you think that all those benefits you just mentioned, Tom, are important, then this is a great hammer to go with.

    TOM: We’re talking to Todd Langston. He is the director of brand marketing for Stanley and Black & Decker and a tool expert.

    Let’s talk now about Bostitch. Now, they’ve come out with a new, heavy-duty workshop compressor. And so many of us are using air tools these days but the compressors are big, they’re loud, they’re noisy and they’re really more than what we need.

    TODD: This heavy-duty workshop compressor is really great in a lot of ways, because it’s got a high-efficiency motor, so the recovery time’s incredible on it. So you don’t hear the thing stop and it doesn’t start to go down in air capacity. It’s actually always there for you; it delivers. But it’s also one of these things that you can have in your garage or in your workshop and it’s only 78 decibels. So, the operational noise level is great and like me, like you just mentioned, I have a baby at home.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s quiet.

    TODD: When I’m working in the garage, this thing can be very quiet. I’m not waking anybody up, I can work into the late hours and nobody is bothered by the noise. But the other thing is you can take it outside of this garage and you can actually have the recovery time to run a couple of framers with it, if you want to build a deck. If you want to keep it in the garage and do work with impact drivers and things like that, you certainly have the air capacity to do it there, too.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Todd, this time of year, everybody is really getting outside and sort of buttoning up the exterior of their homes and making it look fantastic. What’s new on the front to keep your yard and garden and walkways looking just spectacular?

    TODD: Well, from Black & Decker, they have this new 36-volt, lithium-ion, cordless string trimmer and edger. And this product is incredible because – I really have been one of those Doubting Thomases for years who’ve said, “I don’t know if cordless technology will ever get us there where you can mow a yard with it or use it as a trimmer.” But I’ve got to tell you, there’s a lot of power in these units and the lithium ion takes you to a whole new level, because the run time is there, it’s able to last a long time and it’s got ample power to be able to go out and really tackle some of those tough things in the yard.

    And the other things about – I don’t know about you guys but when you use a trimmer – at least I do – the gas is a real frustration. You’ve got to go get gas, the cost of it. And not having to deal with that is fantastic. But the other thing is, you know how your hands vibrate and they feel like they’re numb when you finish doing the trimming?

    TOM: Yep.

    TODD: These vibrate 77-percent less.

    TOM: It’s going to make a real big difference. Todd Langston, Director of Marketing for Stanley Black & Decker, really incredible innovations you guys are bringing out. Thanks so much for making our home improvement projects that much easier.

    TODD: Thank you for having me on the show. I appreciate it, Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and you are tuned to our Spring Into Home Improvement Special. We’re featuring products and services this hour that can help you create better home improvement products. And this next one is pretty important because it helps make sure that all of our projects come out straight.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And we’re talking about levels. You know, the modern level that we use today was invented almost 100 years ago. And this little invention changed the entire construction industry.

    TOM: Yeah. And it was invented by a very smart guy who apparently liked things looking just right. His name was Henry Ziemann and he founded the Empire Level Company.

    And that company is still leading the way in levels and is still a family company, run now by Jenni Becker. And Jenni is here with us and ladies, Jenni is one of the few female leaders in the predominantly male construction industry. We welcome her to the program.

    Hi, Jenni.

    JENNI: Hello. How are you today?

    TOM: So how many generations has your family been running this company?

    JENNI: I am the fifth generation (inaudible at 0:08:19).

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: That’s amazing.

    JENNI: Yeah, it’s pretty unusual.

    TOM: That’s really amazing.

    Gosh, you think about all the changes that have happened over those five generations and the company is still the leader in the measurement category, it’s very, very impressive. So, it was founded back in the early 1900s, correct?

    JENNI: Correct, 1919.

    TOM: And tell us about Henry, the inventory. Did I say it correctly? Is it Ziemann?

    JENNI: Correct, Ziemann. And actually, he was a carpenter and this was towards the later – in his career as a carpenter, he was unsatisfied with leveling tools that were on the market at that particular point in time. And so what he did – literally, out of his garage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – is start producing wood levels and using them for himself, for his own construction business, and then he started selling them to his buddies that were in the industry. So it was really, really a garage business at that point.

    TOM: And so many great businesses start just that way. I mean look at Apple Computers, right? And that’s the modern version of that story.

    JENNI: Yes, exactly.

    TOM: So you’ve got some new products that are out. Tell us about the new e902 Cutting Guide.

    JENNI: OK. Again, we’re into anything that helps you with leveling and layout projects. And really, in the market, as far as mass distribution, there had been some layout guides that were kind of flimsy and not very professional in nature. And what we did is take the basic concept of a layout guide and added some meat and beef to it.

    TOM: OK.

    JENNI: And it has now a nice, beefy handle and the thickness of the aluminum is made for professional applications so that it can withstand cut after cut after cut.

    TOM: And that makes sure it comes out correct every single time.

    JENNI: Exactly. That’s what matters. Accuracy counts.

    LESLIE: That’s really great. What about when it comes to roof construction and attics? Is there any innovations in there that can help you with the rafters, making sure that everything is put together properly?

    JENNI: Empire offers a variety of rafter squares, which are the little triangle squares that you see in the market. And we offer one in a 6-inch size, one in a 12-inch size. One of the differences about what we offer for a rafter square, as opposed to what some of our competition does, is ours is the only that’s an aluminum extruded, as opposed to a die-cast piece of aluminum.

    And the reason for that is durability. Extrusion is a much more durable process than brittle die-cast. And when you’re up working in rafters in roofing, you’re dropping stuff.

    TOM: And I’ve got to tell you, if you want to make sure that your projects come out right every single time – whether you are a do-it-yourselfer, a sort of semi-professional or a pro – you always want to invest in good measurement tools. I see so many of these sort of cheap, plastic, junky squares and levels that are sold in retailers around the country. And I always think what a waste it is to buy those. It’s so much more important to buy good-quality levels like those that are made by the Empire Level Company, who’s been doing it for five generations.

    Jenni Becker, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    If you’d like to check out the Empire products, you can go to their website at

    JENNI: Thanks so much for having me today.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, if you have a pet, I don’t have to tell you how a good vacuum is a crucial piece of equipment. How about one that will tackle Fido’s hair even when you’re not in the room? We’re going to tell you about that new product, next.

    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.

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

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Well, it’s spring and that means it’s time to turn your attention to home improvement. A new study from Burst Media says nearly a third of Americans are going to take on a do-it-yourself home improvement project within the next six months. And more than ever, DIYers are turning to websites like for advice on how to get started.

    TOM: And a lot of people say going over budget and fear of getting in over their head are the reasons that they don’t take on home improvements. We are here to tell you it doesn’t have to be costly or cumbersome.

    For example, how about a vacuum cleaner that does all the work by itself? Yes, by itself. Nancy Nunziati is here from Neato Robotics to tell us about these must-haves.

    Nancy, welcome to the program.

    NANCY: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: Sounds a little too good to be true. I don’t have to pay attention to this thing? I don’t have to lug it out, unwrap the cord and push it around my floor?

    NANCY: You don’t need to. This vacuum will just vacuum for you, so you don’t even have to anymore.

    TOM: Wow. Then my kids are going to be happy to hear that.

    LESLIE: Is that their chore?

    TOM: They vacuum for me right now when I can get them to use it.

    So, how does the product work? Does it sort of memorize the layout of the floor of the room that it’s cleaning? And what about table legs or a book bag that was dropped on the floor? How does it get around the obstructions that we typically have in our homes today?

    NANCY: Well, this robotic vacuum that we’re talking about has a laser sensor. So, basically, it constantly scans the room. Like if you push the start button, it will – it figures out where it is. It scans the room and then just goes about cleaning in a very organized path. It chooses an intelligent path throughout the room.

    And what that means is that it goes back and forth and it avoids obstacles, like you were talking about: chair legs, table legs. A backpack gets dropped in front of it, it simply goes around it and then it will complete the vacuuming and actually find its way back to the base.

    TOM: And recharge itself? That’s really cool.

    LESLIE: That’s great.

    TOM: So it’s kind of laser-guided then.

    NANCY: Yes, it is a laser-guided system.

    LESLIE: And Nancy, it seems like for something to be robotic, it’s got to be on the smaller side. How powerful can the Neato Robotic Vacuum be? Are we talking the hairs that end up from my dog in my rug or is it just the big things?

    NANCY: The Neato Robotic Vacuum has the most powerful suction of any robotic vacuum. A lot of – there are a few other robotic vacuums out there but most of those are sweeper vacs. This one is a true vacuum and it is amazing how much of the pet hair and the dirt that it pulls up. It’s really amazing.

    TOM: A sweeper vac sort of pushes things around but this actually lifts it out of the carpet or out – off the floor.

    NANCY: Yep, exactly. It’s a true vacuum. We have found that a lot of our customers have actually replaced their regular vacuum with this vacuum, because they have found it to be – it’s just so powerful.

    TOM: Wow. Now, what’s the newest Neato vacuums in the line? What’s sort of the – where are we going with this next?

    NANCY: Well, we’ve had a couple of them out for over a year-and-a-half. And that’s the XV-11 and the XV-12.

    TOM: OK.

    NANCY: But our latest vacuum is the XV-21 and that one has been specially designed for people who have pets in the home or if they’re susceptible to allergies. There’s a special filter in it that filters three times as many of the fine particles as a standard filter. And a special bristle brush is really good with the pet hair.

    TOM: Oh, very cool. So it’s got a HEPA filter, then, built into it.

    NANCY: Yeah, it is not a HEPA filter but it definitely has increased suction and gets the fine particles.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s important because sometimes when we use our standard vacuums, if you look carefully at the exhaust port, it seems like the dust goes in one end and shoots right out the other.

    LESLIE: Right out the other.

    NANCY: Yes. That’s not good.

    LESLIE: Now, is there a reminder that lets me know to empty out my Neato Robotic Vacuum? Because I feel like if something is so automatic and now I’m so removed from this chore, will I ever remember to take care of it?

    NANCY: It will. In fact, your automatic vacuum will give you messages whenever it needs attention. Like for example, as you mentioned, when the dust bin gets full, it will remind you. It’ll say, “Oh, please empty my dust bin.” And then you just pop it out and dump the dust bin out. It’s just as easy as could be and it will communicate with you to let you know when that needs to happen.

    TOM: Will it e-mail me and tell me that the vacuuming of my floor is done?

    NANCY: No. But all you need to do is walk in your house, open the door and you’ll actually see the vacuum lines, as if someone had just come and vacuumed for you.

    LESLIE: That’s amazing.

    TOM: I’m kidding you, I’m kidding you. It’s like they say: there’s an app for that, right? I mean that would be the next thing.

    NANCY: You know, it could.

    TOM: Alright. Well, listen, Nancy Nunziati, that sounds very, very cool. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and telling us about Neato Robotics. Your website is

    You can go there, take a look at all the Neato products and never have to really touch a vacuum again; it does it all for you.

    Thanks, Nancy.

    NANCY: Exactly. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, pet dander and pet hair isn’t the only thing that can cause the air to be unhealthy in your home. High humidity levels can lead to bacteria growth, allergens, dust mites and dreaded mold. In fact, any wood or organic material that you have in your home can turn into a mold magnet if your humidity levels linger at about 60 percent.

    So what can you do?

    TOM: Well, a great way to fight moisture levels in your home is with a dehumidifier. It’s a good idea to place one in your basement or your crawlspace, since that’s how most of the moisture is getting into your home.

    Santa Fe makes great dehumidifiers that are Energy Star-rated. You can look up Santa Fe products online and you’ll find different models to meet the needs of your space. When the true muggy weather rolls in, you will be glad that you did. Visit for more information.

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at Still ahead, eco-friendly countertops that give your kitchen a whole new look and a way to take the work out of choosing paint colors for your home.

    TOM: And for more cool, eco-friendly products for your home, just like that, check out our spring projects photo gallery, featured on the home page of

    We’ll be back with more from The Money Pit, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Icynene. If you’re building, remodeling or reinsulating, demand Icynene Spray-Foam Insulation. Icynene fills the spaces other insulations miss, for up to 50-percent energy savings. Learn more and find a dealer at

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: If your home is not aging as well as it should, you can learn how to fix more on less. Because on April 12, I’m going to be joining AARP and host a free webinar, with tips on how you can stay safe and comfortable in your home for 100 bucks or less. We’ll be taking your questions and we’ll have some tips on which home improvements help you get the most bang for your buck.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or even new to home repair, there will be solutions for every budget. If you want to register to see the webinar, visit That’s

    TOM: Well, if this spring weather has you realizing that your drab kitchen needs a bit of brightening up, one of the fastest ways to do that is with new countertops.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And countertops could be the catalyst that completely changes the entire look of your kitchen and you don’t have to spend a lot.

    So we’ve got Tom Perich joining us from DuPont Surfaces to tell us all about transforming your kitchen.

    Tom, you really don’t have to do a whole remodel to get a new look, right?

    TOM PERICH: The DuPont Corian Terra Collection of solid surfaces is an example of DuPont’s commitment to sustainability, as the colors in this collection contain up to 20-percent recycled content.

    TOM: Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Countertops are not something you think about as being – having recycled material in it. But that makes terrific sense that you can have 20 percent of it made from recycled content.

    TOM PERICH: Absolutely. Another great thing about Corian countertops is we really have a commitment to sustainability. DuPont Building Innovations recently became the first company in the industry to reduce its environmental footprint by achieving zero landfill.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM PERICH: So, we used to have about 81 million pounds of landfill waste annually going into our – from our global sites and we now have 0.

    LESLIE: How long did it take to go from that number to zero?

    TOM PERICH: It took us about three years and it was really a complete team. We used – utilized this system called Six Sigma when we’re doing – to execute continuous improvement projects here at DuPont. And it was a huge project across our business, at all of our plant sites, because we have a number of plant sites around the globe. And each one of them developed a number of different, really interesting and creative ways to deal with the waste streams from our different businesses, to the point where now we put no product in the landfill.

    TOM: So, Tom, what are some of the newest products that we’re going to see from DuPont Corian? I have a Corian countertop and I love it. It’s been with us for probably about 10 years now and it’s incredibly durable and really stands up well to a family with three active kids. And that says a lot. What’s new in the Corian line that we’re going to be seeing in our fabricators and our kitchen showrooms and so on?

    TOM PERICH: Yeah, I think some of our newest colors – we launched some new colors in 2011. And what we’ve been really focusing on over the last few years is our Private Collection line. And these are really aesthetics that we – that really have what we would call “movement” in them.

    TOM: OK.

    TOM PERICH: So, it’s got a lot of colors and veining and variation. Some of these colors look a lot like something you might see in stone. So somebody might see them from a natural stone like a marble or a granite. But then others really look like nothing that you would find in nature. And it’s just really kind of a cool pattern and a cool aesthetic that can really brighten up and really kind of take your kitchen to another level and make it look really kind of new and modern.

    LESLIE: And for those who might not be so familiar with Corian, really, what are the benefits with going with a countertop in a Corian material?

    TOM PERICH: A Corian material? I think one of the biggest ones is just what Tom mentioned: it’s an incredibly durable material. In some ways, it’s kind of the original renewable material. If you ever have a scratch or a stain or something on your countertop, all you need to do is take a Scotch-Brite pad and rub it over that scratch or stain and it’s brought back to its original factory finish.

    TOM: You know, when you think about a kitchen makeover, it’s something that is associated with very, very high costs. But it always seems to me that just by replacing your countertop, you can deliver a huge visual impact without the expense of going through all the cabinet replacements and other fixture replacements, right?

    LESLIE: Oh, completely.

    TOM PERICH: Oh, definitely. A countertop replacement is actually surprisingly affordable when you really look at it, compared to some other repairs that you could make. And you could pair that up with maybe refinishing your cabinets or putting some of the – putting new doors on or something like that. And you can really have a high impact. Your kitchen can look totally different: a totally new, updated, modern aesthetic that – at a relatively low price point.

    TOM: Now, is a countertop something that you would consider particularly green, Tom?

    TOM PERICH: I would say, overall, it’s really kind of the material that’s being used in the countertop that contributes to something that’s green. The Terra Collection is a good example of that but another example, with Corian countertops, is some of the durability and renewability hat I mentioned and – as well as the fact that it’s non-porous. So, it’s very easy to clean; it doesn’t promote the growth of mold or mildew; it’s very, very difficult to stain.

    So all of those things, you really look at kind of a life cycle of a countertop. A Corian material really gives you that beautiful look for a very long time.

    LESLIE: That’s really great. And how is it to burn-resistancy?

    TOM PERICH: It’s similar to many, many other materials that we’d use in your countertop. I don’t think anyone is really going to advocate that you would set a hot pan down on any material that you would use in a countertop. You should really use a trivet for any material that you would put in your countertop, whether it be granite; engineered stone, like our Zodiaq product; or Corian.

    TOM: Now, what’s new in the colors that Corian is available in? I’ve got a Corian top that I really enjoy, particularly because no matter what my kids spill on it, it doesn’t show. It hides all of those stains in very, very well.

    TOM PERICH: Yeah. It really kind of depends where you’re going for. Our classic color, like white – or you’re going to see the stains because it’s white. And it’s been around for a little while.

    But some of our new colors, they’ve got a lot of variability, as I said before, a lot of movement. So, not only are the stains not going to stick to the countertop, they’re easy to clean. It’s an – easy, easy to clean and maintain. But the material has got such a great variation of color in it that it’s just really going to pop.

    LESLIE: And what’s the maintenance? I know with a stone countertop, you’re really having to deal with recoating every few years. Is there anything – any sort of maintenance other than normal cleaning?

    TOM PERICH: I’d say that the biggest maintenance might be, depending on your finish – every once in a while, you might want to have someone come in and buff out your countertop. But you don’t need to do that very frequently: certainly nothing like what you’d need to do with granite, for sealing your granite, where you need to do it every one to two years. With Corian, it’s just – if you notice that your countertops are looking a little bit tired, you can go out to your fabricator and they can do a whole buff and it’ll return it back to its factory finish.

    LESLIE: That’s great.

    TOM PERICH: And you really only need to do that maybe every 5 to 10 years. It’s something that – you don’t have to do it very often.

    TOM: It’s a beautiful product. It’s incredibly durable and it’s going to last you a long, long time. Check out the DuPont Corian products for yourself at Or you can get more information by picking up the phone and calling them at 800-906-7765. That’s 800-906-7765.

    Tom Perich from DuPont Corian, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    TOM PERICH: No problem. Thank you for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, you always hear that prep is the hardest part of painting your house. But many do-it-yourselfers will tell you that the hard part is picking the right color. We’re going to tell you how to get a hand with that, 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 I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are springing into home improvement today on the show. The sun’s been shining and we know you’ve been aching to get some work done on your do-it-yourself projects. We’re going to talk to you today about all the cool, new and innovative products that are coming out for the home improver right now.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And one of these is going to be a big relief for all of you who have painting on your list this year. If you’ve painted in the last few years, you know the number of color choices can be, to say the least, overwhelming.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: Even if everybody agrees on yellow, you still have to choose between sunny yellow, lemon, gold, citrus; you get the point. There are pages and pages and pages of yellow.

    TOM: Well, Pittsburgh Paint has a great way for homeowners to pick the perfect shade for them. It’s an online tool called the Voice of Color. Steve Shorthouse is here from Pittsburgh Paint to tell us more.

    Welcome, Steve.

    STEVE: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Hey.

    TOM: Now, it does get pretty overwhelming when you’re faced with all the color choices, whether you’re standing in the store looking at the small chip or even online trying to figure out what’s going to look good. I can envision people holding their laptop up to the wall to see if the color shown on the website is going to look right in their home. How does this new online tool, called the Voice of Color, make this easier?

    STEVE: One of the ways it does is there’s a couple tools on there. One is called the Color Sense Game and it’s a really neat thing.

    TOM: OK.

    STEVE: It’s an online quiz, kind of, that determines your color personality. It’s very accurate and it’s really actually fun to play. People who don’t like to do computer stuff have told me that it’s actually pretty fun and cool.

    About 10 or 12 questions. Takes about 10 minutes, depending on how quick you are. And it just goes through some things and at the end, it gives you your color personality which then, in turn, gives you a smaller palette of colors to choose from, instead of the large group.

    TOM: Oh, that’s interesting. So it’s kind of like your color psychic, then, huh, Steve?

    STEVE: Exactly, yeah. You look at it and you say, “Well, I don’t know what these – where these questions are going.” But at the end, you go, “Hey, I like all that stuff.”

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: And working as a decorator, I always find that coming to a client’s house with a fan deck is overwhelming, the swatches are small. Is there a way that Pittsburgh has really helped to allow the homeowner to bring home a swatch without any cost and without painting a wall, to really get a sense of what this color is going to look like? Because you’ve got to live with it before you make a choice.

    STEVE: Yeah. A great thing is that I’m a designer, myself, by trade and I actually do this in my own house. I use an 8×12 sample instead of the small chip from the store. And the great way to do that is we have a new app: Voice of Color app. It’s for iPhone, iPad and Android.

    TOM: Right.

    STEVE: And it’s real easy to get and it’s real easy to use. You can take a picture of anything or if you have the color name and number, you can get right on there and you can order an 8×12 sample. It comes right to your house for free in a couple days.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.

    TOM: Oh, that’s so much easier than the little color chips that are available in so many stores. It’s so hard to look at a tiny strip of paper with four versions of a color on it and figure out if that’s really going to work for you. So, what a brilliant idea to have an 8×12 color sheet that really gives you an opportunity – stick it on the wall, tack it up there, look at it for a couple days and make sure it’s right for you before you really dig in.

    STEVE: Yeah. The best thing about it is it gets you – in your house, next to your furniture, in your lighting – the only way to really choose a paint color.

    TOM: Terrific. Steve Shorthouse from Pittsburgh Paints, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    If you’d like more information on this technology, you can visit That’s

    Thanks, Steve.

    STEVE: Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie.

    TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We are focusing on spring home improvement products this hour, with our Spring Into Home Improvement Broadcast Special. And if woodworking is on your do-it-yourself list, a good wood glue is essential.

    And the pros at Elmer’s Glue are now making one that you can actually stain. And if you’ve ever worked with wood, you know how great that can be, especially if you are a sloppy gluer like me and get it all over the place and then you can’t stain those spots that the glue leaked onto.

    LESLIE: That’s right. So we’ve got Van Foster joining us from Elmer’s to tell us more.

    Van, the wood will actually break before the bond on the glue does?

    VAN: At Elmer’s, we put a lot of work into our wood glue, so the glue actually penetrates the wood when the two pieces of wood are glued together. And that’s important, because that does allow the wood to actually penetrate, form a better bond and the wood breaks before the glue does itself.

    TOM: Now, you’re the director of technical services and it seems like it’s a big technological jump to have a glue that can actually take a stain. How does this product work?

    VAN: Well, it’s interesting. A lot of (inaudible at 0:31:34) and years gone by. Actually, we will actually (inaudible at 0:31:36). Actually put some wood flour in the wood glue itself, so that they do have a little extra spread out.

    TOM: OK.

    VAN: You can go ahead and actually stain it. What we’ve done is we’ve actually formulated and developed a separate technology so that we have wood glues that are indeed stainable.

    TOM: Wow, that’s very, very cool.

    Now, you’ve also got a new product out called the Clamp Tape. That sounds a little bit – a little oxymoronic. It’s a clamp and it’s a tape. How does that help us get our projects done?

    VAN: Not every assembly we want to go ahead and glue together is going to be regular. And in order to go ahead and get a good bond, you have to go ahead and clamp it together.

    Let’s say you want to go ahead and actually glue some kind of a chair or some kind of an odd object together. In order to go ahead and gain good success, you have to go and actually apply some kind of a pressure. Elmer’s Clamp Tape actually serves as a strong, structural tape to go ahead and hold the glued areas together. I call it kind of an elastomeric wood-glue clamp.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great. This way, you’re not standing there holding everything together with your hands until you feel it start to set up, which sometimes you have to do if it’s got a strange shape.

    VAN: Yes, that’s true. Not a lot of options out there but in this case, you have a good option.

    TOM: Now, there’s a lot of different glues that are available and you guys make quite a few yourselves. How do we know which glue to choose? I mean it goes everywhere from the school glue through the aliphatic resin glues and the other types of wood glues that you have. Is there sort of a rule of thumb that tells you which type of glue you should choose?

    VAN: Sometimes, that can be confusing. We try to go ahead and tailor-make a lot of our glues so it actually specifies what kind of an application you have on there. In some situations, you have a product called Glue-All, which is going to take care of a lot of your basic needs. In others, we have a product that actually spells out what you’re looking for. Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max is going to be something – going to be designated primarily for wood.

    TOM: Van Foster, Technical Director for Elmer’s Products, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on these very cool products. Glue that’s stainable. What will you think of next?

    VAN: Thank you. It was a pleasure.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, did you know that the wrong color choice for your home’s exterior can actually lower your home’s value? So, if that’s true, how do you pick the right palette? We’re going to get some advice from a color expert, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Santa Fe, makers of the world’s most energy-efficient basement and crawlspace dehumidifier. Santa Fe offers a complete line of high-capacity, Energy Star-rated dehumidifiers, specifically designed to effectively operate in the cooler temperatures of crawlspaces and basements. Visit 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.

    TOM: And spring is the perfect time to change the color of your house. And we’re not just talking about paint here but really the color of fixtures and the whole picture, including the roof, the windows, the doors and the trim.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Kate Smith – she is the chief color maven and president of Sensational Color – is joining us to explain how you can change the look of your home.

    Kate, tell us about FRESH Approach.

    KATE: Oh, FRESH approach, Leslie, is exactly how I go about looking at a home and deciding what colors work best for the exterior. And FRESH is just a way to remember the five key elements that you want to look at on your exterior: the first one, the F, being the fixed features.

    TOM: Ah, OK.

    KATE: And when we take the approach – I call it – we start color from the top down, so I start at the top.

    TOM: OK.

    KATE: And the fixed features are things like – that you need to look at. First, start with your roof. If you have a 50-year roof, like a DaVinci product, that is a fixed feature. But if you’re looking to put a new roof on, you want to look at the other fixed features, like the foundation: any stone or brick you have on your façade.

    And you want to match – make sure that whatever other colors that you bring into your home work with the color of those elements or in sometimes what we call the “color caster”: undertone of those elements.

    TOM: Alright. So now let’s talk about regional colors. That’s the next step in your process. Does that mean matching the color scheme to the area of the country that you live in?

    KATE: Tom, exactly. Because there’s colors that just naturally work, based on your region. And it includes the materials that were indigenous to the area, the natural surroundings – the kind of landscaping and the surrounding elements; the colors want to tie to that – and even the quality of light.

    And a good example of this would be in the Northeast. A lot of times you’ll see a very crisp, white, clapboard home. But how you can bring in color is to use something like – Simonton has a beautiful vinyl window frame in a color brick red.

    TOM: Yeah, I’ve seen that. It’s gorgeous.

    KATE: Yeah, it’s beautiful and people don’t often think of things, just like their window frames, but that’s a perfect way to bring in color. Keep the look traditional but add a little pop of something that people wouldn’t expect but is not – it doesn’t seem that unusual; it seems beautiful.

    TOM: Right. It feels natural, feels natural.

    LESLIE: What about the style of your home? I feel like certain architectural styles just scream out for a certain color palette. How do you know where to start in even researching what to do?

    KATE: Yeah, Leslie, that’s a great point. The style of the home is our S part of the FRESH. And we do look at the style and it’s – whether it’s a ranch or a Tudor or a Victorian, certain styles historically have been done in particular colors. And people often like to think about that. It doesn’t mean you’re necessarily locked into those colors but they’re a good point of reference. And then you can take that and update it for today.

    The great thing is if you have elements, like in your trim, and can paint those to match or to work with your style of home, that is often a great way to bring in color. And a product like – I love the Fypon urethane products because they can be painted in any color that accents your home’s exterior.

    TOM: And you really can’t talk about the exterior without talking about doors. I mean I just installed three beautiful, brand-new Therma-Tru doors and they really start now as the focus point for the entire exterior.

    KATE: Tom, you’re absolutely right. One of the things that I always say is make your front door your focus: the focal point of your exterior.

    And it is a great place to use a whole different color. You can bring in one accent color or tie it in with what you’ve used on your shutters or other elements of the house. Always go back to looking at things like your fixed features and your siding and make sure the colors work together. But a beautiful front door in a standout color is a great way to set your house apart.

    TOM: Kate Smith, Chief Color Maven and President of Sensational Color. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KATE: You’re welcome.

    TOM: And if you’d like more information on all the products we’ve been talking about this hour of the program and many more that’ll help you spring into home improvement, you can visit and check out our spring product guide.

    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 2012 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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