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The Money Pit Broadcasts from the Top Products Pavilion at the 2014 National Hardware Show

  • Transcript

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Broadcasting from the floor of the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, Nevada and we are so excited to be here today.

    LESLIE: That’s right. We love this show. Now, the average consumer …

    TOM: Me, too.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s great. Now, the average consumer doesn’t get to see all the fantastic, new products, information, even trends that come out here every year. But we can be your eyes and your ears and you may have recognized that voice sneaking in over there.

    JOHN: It’s Hammy the Pig.

    TOM: And that is our very first guest. You probably know him best as Cliff Clavin, who was a fixture on the long-running comedy show, Cheers, or if you’ve got little ones, like Leslie, as a number of voices in Disney/Pixar films.

    Welcome to the program, John Ratzenberger.

    JOHN: Thank you.

    TOM: Thank you …

    JOHN: Thank you. And I just recorded something on Leslie’s phone there for her kids, Hank and Charlie.

    TOM: You absolutely did.

    LESLIE: It’s amazing.

    JOHN: I left them a message as Mack the Truck. Funny.

    LESLIE: Cars is huge in my house.

    TOM: Is that right?

    LESLIE: I mean there are all sorts of Mack toys, Lightning McQueen toys, Mater everywhere. My boys love it.

    JOHN: And well, they should.

    LESLIE: Right. They missed you in the second one, though.

    JOHN: What do you mean?

    LESLIE: Well, you know, you weren’t around it as much in Cars 2.

    JOHN: Well, that’s sad because they went overseas.

    LESLIE: Yes. But I …

    JOHN: But I was in it in the beginning and the end.

    LESLIE: I know. But we love you in the first one.

    JOHN: Alright.

    TOM: And speaking of overseas, you’re here representing Made in the U.S.A. And we’re talking about the state of manufacturing in this country.

    JOHN: Yeah, most people don’t realize it because every day, we get up, we do what we do: we go to school, go to work and watch sports on the weekend, go over to our in-laws’. And nobody takes the time to think that manufacturing is to America what spinach is to Popeye. It really is our strength. What builds our ships, our planes, railroads, the water system, the sewer systems? So, I take it very seriously and the fact that within 10 years, we could become a third-world country.

    LESLIE: Growing up, we were given so many opportunities to learn trades in our basic education process, from woodworking to sewing to different items that whether or not it became your career, it definitely helped know the history and the fiber of the United States and what we really came up as in producing things.

    JOHN: Right.

    LESLIE: And I think all of that has just fallen off completely and kids just don’t know how to do things with their hands.

    JOHN: Yeah, it’s our fault.

    LESLIE: Oh, completely.

    JOHN: Oh, yeah, we took that – the Woodstock, the hippie philosophy of “hey, let’s all go to college and be poets and dancers and medieval-history buffs,” which I am, by the way. But I’m also a carpenter. I learned the carpentry trade and that’s what kept me alive and that’s what put food on the table for years. I became an actor but I still do carpentry.

    And the beauty of that is that I brought my kids up with the same philosophy and they’re both – they both have skills besides college degrees. But if you have a skill – a trade skill – no one can ever take that from you, ever. Your company can go out of business but you’ll walk down the street the next day and get another job if you have a skill.

    TOM: And that’s a great point. And John, before I was a radio host and before I was a home inspector before that, I actually was trained as an industrial-arts teacher. And I taught shop in high school for a number of years. And I’m troubled today by the fact that those programs have largely been eliminated.

    LESLIE: They’re gone.

    JOHN: Right.

    TOM: So we’re graduating kids today that literally are living in homes that were built in much of the same way for 200 years but they literally don’t know which end of the hammer to hold.

    JOHN: Right. Right. When I was 14, I decided to myself that I wanted to learn how to build a house and everything in it and I did. And so, by the time I was in my mid-20s, I’d build you a house and everything in it. But I was also surrounded with people who made that more possible; there were no naysayers. There were people that encouraged me because I grew up in a factory town and everybody worked with their hands.

    But the elimination of shop courses – wherever they eliminated a shop class, the dropout rate went up 30 percent almost instantly.

    TOM: Shopping.

    JOHN: Yeah, well, but it’s not really, when you think – not everybody wants or needs to go to college.

    TOM: Right.

    JOHN: And even when – like this week, I’m going to be speaking at a college in Pennsylvania, the commencement address. But I usually say, “Never assume you’re smarter than the person who laid the bricks of this building.” Because that is the essential worker. Actors and sports celebrities are not essential.

    TOM: Right.

    JOHN: We could disappear tomorrow, nobody cares, really. But if all the carpenters, truck drivers and welders walked off their jobs, we’re taking a couple of days off, civilization would grind to a halt.

    LESLIE: Now, do you think it’s the role of a parent to sort of instill the desire to learn the trades in their children? Do you think it falls on the educators? How can we sort of re-instill this in our kids?

    JOHN: Well, the parents have to get out of the way, first of all. The parents have got to stop being embarrassed if their son or daughter decides they want to be, as I said, a welder, a bricklayer or electrician. You should encourage that. And also, there’s been, for some reason, since the 60s – I don’t get this but parents not wanting their kids to go outside and play and get dirty.

    TOM: Yeah.

    JOHN: But that’s – it’s a healthy thing.

    TOM: Well, yeah.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: There was – recently, I was listening to a survey about all of the parents that are just using electronics as babysitters today. Kids are losing their ability to work with their hands.

    JOHN: Right.

    TOM: If it’s not flicking a screen, they don’t know what to do. And they’re losing the ability to socialize, as a result of that. So you’ve really got to get outside the electronics and get back to some of those basic skills.

    JOHN: Right. It’s just kind of a lot of new-age philosophies just making us a stupid nation and taking us away from doing things tactilely. And we’ve – don’t forget, we are a nation of pioneers. We just figure out and do it. In every industry, this is – there’s no exception to this rule: every single industry started with one person inventing one thing, somebody tinkering in a garage or in their basement. And that’s – and you have to encourage children to do that. They don’t really care about expensive presents at two, three years old; just give them the box.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. True. It’s true.

    JOHN: Give them boxes of crayons and cut a couple of holes in it. They’re good.

    LESLIE: Rocket ship.

    JOHN: Yeah, they’re good for three or four months.

    TOM: We’re talking to John Ratzenberger about the Made in the U.S.A. movement. As Americans, we make decisions with our wallets. How can we support finding products that are made in the U.S.A.?

    JOHN: Every time you go into a store to buy something – a hardware store, a big-box store – go up to the manager and make sure it’s the manager or somebody in charge and ask, “Where’s the Made in America section? I want to just buy American-made products. So where’s that section?” And the more people that do that, then they’re going to say, “Uh-oh. We’d better start packing in some American-made products here.” Retail is consumer-driven.

    TOM: Now, John, we’ve enjoyed your work for over a decade on Cheers and of course, as we said before …

    JOHN: Where everybody knows my name.

    TOM: Everybody knows your name, yes. And then through all your Pixar films.

    LESLIE: It’s true.

    JOHN: Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.

    TOM: What are you doing now? What’s new for you? You’ve got a new show working on or anything like that?

    JOHN: Yeah, we’re just going to be coming out with another Pixar movie. Going to be recording that next month.

    LESLIE: And that’s got to be a lot of fun.

    JOHN: Oh, yeah, it’s – yeah. There’s no heavy lifting involved.

    LESLIE: No. But you do heavy lifting with your voice.

    JOHN: Yeah, it’s indoor work.

    LESLIE: I mean you really get to transform yourself into these characters. And even though your voice is so recognizable, it’s got to be so fun to take on the role of Hammy the Pig or Mack the Truck.

    JOHN: Well, it’s actually working with Pixar, because they do things the old-fashioned way. They have a very high standard, like we all did in America at one time, educational system or whatever. But Pixar has a very high standard. Their job at Pixar is to reach that standard, not to lower the standard. Everyone has to reach their standard and that’s why they’re such a joy to work with.

    TOM: Well, you’ve certainly set a very high standard in the work that you’ve done, John. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and motivating us to always buy Made in the U.S.A. products.

    JOHN: And keep it going because that’s who we are. Without it, we’re a third-world country.

    LESLIE: If your project involves painting, a good-quality painter’s tape is key to making sure that your project rocks. Well, one we’ve been using lately is 3M ScotchBlue and they now have a tape made specifically for exterior surfaces, which have always been tricky. So here to tell us more about it is Jeff Malmer, a scientist with 3M.

    Welcome, Jeff.

    JEFF: Hi.

    TOM: So, talk to us about the exterior ScotchBlue product. How is it different than the ScotchBlue that we’re accustomed to using inside our homes?

    JEFF: Yeah, inside your home, you’re typically dealing with the paper tape and a certain level of adhesion, so you’re not going to damage those delicate surfaces, like walls and cabinets and things like that. Our exterior masking tape is actually a polyethylene, the plastic-backed tape that has a technology in it that makes it very conformable, as well as you can snap-tear it very quickly for those straight edges when you’re working with corners.

    TOM: And that’s actually really great because invariably, when I’m masking something off inside, I always get it like a 45-degree angle.

    LESLIE: Or that long strip.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. The fact that you can get a 90-degree corner like this is really handy.

    JEFF: Yep. Yep. Yeah, it’s very handy. It’s just – it’s easy-handling tape. And again, for your outdoor applications, as you mentioned, they’re very difficult, they’re unique.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, they’re textural, they’re grimy.

    JEFF: Yep.

    LESLIE: You know, you have a lot of exterior wear and tear that – come on, every homeowner is not going to be pressure-washing every surface of the outside before they go to paint, which they should. But they’re – face it, they’re not going to.

    JEFF: Yep. Right.

    LESLIE: So you have to make sure that whatever you’re putting on to help mask the area is going to stick.

    JEFF: It’s going to stick. You want it to stick and then you want it to come down without leaving residue and damage upon removal, too.

    TOM: Now, you don’t want it to come down too quickly, because you’re working outside; you could have weather delays. So how long can you leave the product on without impacting its ability to come off cleanly?

    JEFF: Yep. This is actually a seven-day tape, so it gives you a lot of – it’ll give you good time to complete your project.

    TOM: Wow. Yeah.

    LESLIE: I think that’s interesting because you want to make sure that you’re getting good adhesion, you want to make sure that it’s going to last. And I think what’s interesting with your quick tear that gives you the straight edge is that you’re, a lot of times, up on the ladder, you could be standing inappropriately, reaching, leaning and trying to rip it with your mouth. And it’s so helpful that you can sort of tape and pull and at the same time, you’re getting a good, clean mark.

    JEFF: Right. Yep, yep. Being up on a 15-foot ladder is not a good thing, no fun at all.

    LESLIE: No fun. We have a 10-foot ladder here in the booth and I climbed up on it yesterday and that’s high.

    TOM: You’re feeling a little insecure.

    JEFF: Yeah.

    LESLIE: It was high.

    JEFF: Yep.

    TOM: That’s great. Now, where can we find ScothBlue’s Painter’s Tape?

    JEFF: Oh, it’s available in your hardware stores, your big-box stores and your painter’s stores, too, yep. It’s available everywhere.

    TOM: Alright. Jeff, I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been working with it and I really like it. Well done. Jeff Malmer from ScotchBlue, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    JEFF: Yeah. Yeah. Great. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Jeff.

    Alright. Well, coming up, a healthy home is often a safe home. We’ll be giving you solutions to a couple of common home health hazards: mold and indoor allergens.

    TOM: The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, coming to you from the Top Products Pavilion at the National Hardware Show continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Broadcasting from the Top Products Pavilion at the 2014 National Hardware Show on a beautiful spring day. But for many Americans, that warm weather and blooming flowers isn’t necessarily what comes to mind in spring.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. In fact, for nearly 45 million Americans – me included – spring also means seasonal allergies. And May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. So if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you do know how important it is to eliminate substances in your home that can cause an allergic response or asthma flare-up.

    TOM: With us to talk about a great solution is Larry Cavalier with 3M Filtrete.

    Welcome, Larry.

    LARRY: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: Now, you guys have come out with – at the National Hardware Show, you’re releasing a new product. It’s called the Filtrete Micro-Allergen Reduction Filter. That is a good achievement, because there’s always been sort of a trade-off between trapping the dust and the dirt and the pollens and then coming up with a filter that actually doesn’t block the airflow, right?

    LARRY: Right, right. It’s actually – there’s submicrons that create problems for people who have asthma or allergies. The stuff you can’t see gets breathed very easily into your lungs, triggers an asthma attack or possibly even a respiratory problem for a lot of people out there today, so …

    TOM: Right. And folks don’t recognize that there’s just a huge, qualitative difference in the filters that are on the market. And that’s why you want to look for a good brand like 3M Filtrete. Because too many folks just use the throwaway fiberglass filters.

    LESLIE: One.

    TOM: I call them “rock-stoppers.”

    LARRY: Yeah, that’s about what – rocks, sticks and birds, probably, yeah.

    We’ve been making furnace filters for, what, 24 years now and we’ve kind of started this whole thing of high-efficient products. And actually, we probably make the best 1-inch filter out there for people who have asthma and allergies right now. So, we’re always improving our product, to make sure they’re better and better every year, too.

    So, if people want to reduce particle counts in their homes, you can’t beat them. You can’t beat them.

    TOM: Here’s the way to look at it: you either use a filter or you are a filter.

    LESLIE: Right.

    LARRY: Exactly right, Tom. You want to filter it before it gets to your filter, typically.

    TOM: Right, exactly. Yeah.

    LARRY: Exactly. So …

    LESLIE: Now, if you’re using a more higher-efficiency filter, do you have to change them more often? Less often?

    LARRY: Three months is a recommended interval for most people. But if you have cats and dogs, if you have smokers – which I hope you don’t have – or if you run your furnace fan all the time, you should change them more frequently. So, there’s a lot of factors. If you have a fireplace, if you have other things that create lots of dust in your home.

    LESLIE: Right.

    LARRY: Candles, for example. You’d be amazed at the amount of soot that candles make. I get filters that are as black as your shirt.

    TOM: Yeah, just from candle dust, yeah.

    LESLIE: Really?

    LARRY: Just from a candle. Soot, yeah.

    TOM: I’ve seen it as it sticks to the walls and ceilings.

    LARRY: Right, right.

    TOM: And people think it’s mold growing and really, all it is is carbon deposits from those candle which, again, we’re breathing.

    LARRY: Yeah. Right. Exactly right.

    LESLIE: It’s amazing.

    TOM: Well, it’s a great product: the Filtrete Micro-Allergen Reduction Filter. Pick one up today. For more information, you can go to FindMyFiltreteFilter.com.

    Larry Cavalier from Filtrete, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    LARRY: Well, thanks for having me again. Appreciate it, any time.

    LESLIE: Now, another huge contributor to unhealthy air in your home is mold. So, our next guest has a bleach-free product that can not only get rid of mold but it also keeps it from coming back.

    TOM: Joining us now is Brad Elder from Concrobium.

    Welcome, Brad.

    BRAD: Thank you. Nice to be here.

    TOM: Now, mold is definitely something that homeowners dread. It damages surfaces. It can have a definite bad impact on indoor air quality and family health. But the solutions don’t have to be nearly as stressful. Tell us about Concrobium.

    BRAD: That’s right. A lot of people are used to just attacking indoor mold with bleach, right?

    TOM: Right. Of course.

    BRAD: So the irony there is you’ve got indoor mold, which is a health hazard. And then you’re spraying toxic bleach indoors, making the problem worse.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: Right.

    BRAD: So, Concrobium Mold Control is a unique mold fighter that kills and prevents mold without bleach or any harmful chemicals at all. It works very differently. It doesn’t kill mold by poisoning it; it works as it dries. Dries on top of the moldy surface, crushes the mold underneath. So we call it a “physical kill.”

    TOM: Oh, that’s interesting. So, this is not something where you’re scrubbing the mold away, like you might with any type of sort of detergent solution.

    BRAD: It’s not, really. And mold is – it’s not a cleaning issue; it’s more of a health hazard.

    LESLIE: It’s a moisture issue.

    BRAD: It’s a moisture issue first, then it can be a home-health issue. And it needs to be treated as such. So, this product, it kills the mold. And then what you’ve got left over is a cosmetic issue that can be cleaned up using the product, as well.

    LESLIE: And so, once you spray with Concrobium, do you let it sit? Do you wipe it immediately? What’s the process?

    BRAD: So, the process is if you’ve got a moldy surface, well, first of all, you need to be thinking about that moisture issue that caused the mold problem in the first place.

    LESLIE: Caused it.

    BRAD: So, mold remediation is really a process; it’s not just a product. But Concrobium Mold control, the way you use it is you spray it on the moldy surface and let it dry. That’s the key. That’s when it’s doing all of its work. Once it’s dry, then any residual mold staining can be cleaned up using the product. And then it stays on the surface after to prevent mold growth, as well.

    TOM: And that’s really the key. Because whatever the conditions were that were present that caused the mold are most likely still there.

    BRAD: That’s right. I mean …

    TOM: And so it’s a management issue.

    BRAD: That’s right. Yeah. And it’s an ongoing one. So we try and teach our customers and homeowners that they need to be thinking about that longer-term. It’s not a quick cleanup and then we’re done, we don’t need to worry about leaky pipes and moisture issues. You’ve got to be vigilant about mold indoors.

    LESLIE: And I think a lot of it – you may have a leaky-pipe situation that’s causing your mold. But more likely, it’s daily usage of your kitchen appliances: boiling water, cooking, prepping.

    TOM: Life.

    LESLIE: If you’re not moving out all of that moisture, you’re going to get mold.

    TOM: Life causes mold.

    BRAD: That’s right.

    LESLIE: The same in the bathroom. You know, here in the States, we have a thing where if you’ve got a window, you don’t need a ventilation system, which is ridiculous because the air doesn’t move to the window. So, it’s interesting. You’re right: you’ve got to fix the source and then you’ve got to treat it.

    BRAD: You absolutely do. That’s right.

    TOM: Brad Elder, the vice president of marketing for Concrobium, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    BRAD: Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you from Las Vegas at the 2014 National Hardware Show. We’ll be back with more, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Broadcasting today from the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. And we are very excited to be here because all reports are indicating home improvement is going to be really strong this year. And I’ve got to tell you, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you will no doubt appreciate the new line of podium ladders by Werner Ladder.

    Now, these ladders are innovative, very safe and very practically designed for homeowner use.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And here to tell us more about them is Chris Filardi from the Werner Ladder Company. Welcome, Chris.

    CHRIS: Welcome. How are you doing?

    LESLIE: We’re great.

    TOM: We’re doing well. And you pretty much have invented an entirely new category of ladders called “podium ladders.” For those that are listening at home, describe a podium ladder.

    CHRIS: Well, a podium ladder is kind of a derivative of a step ladder, in some respects. The top step and the second step are not there and there’s a large guardrail that’s pulled up and a giant platform to stand on. So, basically, it gives you, literally, 360-degrees access to your project on the ladder without having to go up and down.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think that’s always been a problem. I’m constantly trying to figure out which is the best way to position a ladder so that I can get the best sort of traction to whatever it is that I’m working on, up on the ladder surface. And usually, I’m putting up some curtain rods.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: And sometimes, I’m trying to drive an anchor into a wall. And is it plaster? Is it concrete? And I’ve really got to lean into something and next thing you know, I’m teeter-tottering the ladder behind me.

    CHRIS: Right.

    LESLIE: And you’ve come to sort of just think, “Well, that’s just the nature of the beast.”

    CHRIS: And whether you’re a consumer or a professional, to us it’s about being able to safely get up that ladder, do your projects and get down as safe as possible. What this allows you to do is actually have points of contact that you can touch with your hip on the guardrail, so it actually frees up your hands so that you can do those kinds of projects without having to really worry as much about balance and form.

    TOM: And you also feel more secure because you’re surrounded by that guardrail. It’s in contact with your body so you know that you’re not going to press past that. And also, having that wide platform, you’re not just stepping on this ladder with your toes. You have your entire foot engaged, so you really don’t have to be an acrobat anymore on the ladder.

    So I think it also allows you to get more done because you’re not repositioning the ladder from project to project to project. So not only do you have the better reach, you really don’t have to get up and down as much and move it every 12 inches when you want to get to that extra-long, say, corner away or something like that.

    CHRIS: Well, yeah. And you can’t underestimate the comfort factor. So, sometimes we work really hard on weekends to make our house better. It’s hard enough just doing that. But to be able to stand there for a long period of time and feel comfortable so you can hit that little paint line or put the tape up or do whatever you’ve got to do, it really helps a lot.

    LESLIE: And the other thing that I think is interesting – I actually climbed to the top of your 10-foot podium ladder that we have here in the booth and it seemed way higher than 10 feet. But when I was up there, it truly felt comfortable. And your representative, Bo, he’s hysterical. But he was like, “Lean on it.” And I was like “Uh.” But he convinced me to sort of lean up against the edge and I was wearing heels and I went up there. And I felt comfortable and I felt secure. I didn’t want to stay up there very long but I felt very comfortable up there.

    CHRIS: Well, that’s actually what we’re most excited about. Platform ladders have existed in our country for a very long time but with platform ladders, that platform is actually smaller and the guardrail only goes up to about your shins.

    LESLIE: Right. What is that going to do?

    CHRIS: So, yes – so this actually kind of encloses your body and gives that comfort factor. It’s definitely a much more safer feeling.

    TOM: Now, the way these ladders are measured, I think, is also instructive. So, the smallest ladder is the 4-foot ladder?

    CHRIS: Well, we have basically 3 through 10 feet.

    TOM: So, 3 through 10 feet, OK. So, I see the 4-foot ladder and the 4-foot ladder, though, is not really comparable to a 4-foot step ladder, is it?

    CHRIS: Right.

    TOM: Because it gives you the reach of a 6-foot ladder. And in fact, if you’re on the 4-foot ladder, you really could reach up to, what, about 10 feet if you’re 6-feet tall?

    CHRIS: Yeah. And that’s the fun of communicating a new style, right?

    TOM: Right. The measurement’s changed.

    CHRIS: Traditionally, in our – yeah, traditionally, in our business, it’s the platform height that is the measurement.

    TOM: Right.

    CHRIS: But really, what it’s about is the effective reach. And so, for a 4-foot podium, it’s actually – it has the equivalent reach to a 6-foot step ladder.

    TOM: OK.

    CHRIS: And when you look at our communications and what we put out on our website and everything, that’s really what we refer to as “equivalent 6-foot reach.”

    LESLIE: And the other thing that was interesting is when you’re actually standing on top of the podium ladder, you’ve offered the user areas to store things. Because I cannot tell you how many times – this points me out to the idiot that I am – but I’ll be on a traditional ladder, I’ll take my drill driver and put it in one of the holes on top and some screws and whatever. And then I step down and go to move it, forgetting that I’ve got everything up there. And I have been pelted in the head with a tool once or twice.

    So, yes, shame on me. But you really have made it so that there’s areas to store your tools. And Bo was even telling me about a cord that I can put on my drill and snap into.

    CHRIS: That’s correct, yes.

    LESLIE: So, I can’t even believe all of these wonderful features that not only make it safer but idiot-proof for me.

    TOM: And safer for the people on the ground underneath Leslie.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    CHRIS: It really is. Because if you move the ladder, it’s not going to fall out with that lock-in accessory.

    TOM: Right. Right.

    CHRIS: The exciting thing for us is our engineers and our product-management team often go out where the job is really tough, like on a professional site. And they get these nuances and understanding of what tools, how they do. And then they bring that back so the consumer can obviously benefit from it.

    TOM: They see the issues, yeah.

    CHRIS: Yeah, absolutely.

    TOM: Now, the other thing about this ladder that is interesting is you have an interestingly designed foot on this. It sort of flares out in a pyramid shape on all four sides. And I guess that gives us much more stability. Because I tried to shift it from side to side, like you do with any ladder, and you really can’t.

    LESLIE: You can’t.

    CHRIS: Right. It really is a grip that gives you much more stability. But even more than that, if you look at fiberglass ladders – in general, especially on the professional side where they get really heavy abuse – that would be the area that would be most likely to get a crack over time.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. Right.

    CHRIS: And what we’ve done is we’ve developed an edge bracing that it actually diffuses that energy and makes the product last longer. So not only are you getting that stability but you’re getting the protection, as well.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? They’re lightweight. I could pick up the 10-foot one, I could pick up the 4-foot one. You know, I really had no problem with it and they’re beautifully designed.

    TOM: The product is called the Werner Podium Ladder. Our guest is Chris Filardi, the vice president of marketing.

    Chris, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on this brand-new category of ladders. Where can our listeners go for more information?

    CHRIS: They can go to WernerLadder.com and get all the information they need.

    TOM: And where is the product sold?

    CHRIS: This product is sold in home centers and hardware stores all around the country.

    TOM: Terrific. Chris Filardi, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    CHRIS: Good to see you guys. Thanks.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, one of the worst kinds of leaks is the one that you don’t know about. They’re usually small and sneaky and when you finally figure it out, there’s major hidden damage to repair.

    TOM: And one common spot for that is under your toilet. A solution is next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Broadcasting today from the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can follow our coverage @Money Pit on Twitter with the hashtag #TopProductsNHS.

    So, imagine waking up in the middle of the night to maybe take care of nature’s call when you take your seat, the toilet collapses and falls through the floor. And the worst part is that this wasn’t a nightmare; it was real because the gasket under the toilet had leaked and was probably doing so for years.

    LESLIE: Well, there is a product on the market that can eliminate this scenario. And here to tell us about the Perfect Seal from Danco is Mark Ayers.

    Welcome, Mark.

    MARK: Well, thank you. Thanks for having me on the show.

    TOM: This is one thing you don’t think about until it’s too late. It’s really quite a common problem. I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector and one of the areas I would always check and inspect in any bathroom was the floor around the toilet. And it was amazing how many times you would find that very slow leak that was causing major structural damage that, by the way, is really hard to fix. Because you think about all the levels involved: pulling the toilet up, removing the tile floor, cutting out the subfloor and maybe even repairing a rotted floor joist. This is not an inexpensive problem.

    MARK: No, it’s definitely not. And it’s one that we see quite often. And you’re absolutely right. Actually, the damage can even occur the very first time you actually put a new toilet in, because you don’t get that seal just right or you move the toilet around when you’re actually positioning it on the floor. And so that’s where this product is so great because it just bypasses every single bit of that.

    LESLIE: Now, I know we’re talking about toilet flanges and we’re talking about seals. Let’s back up a bit because I’m not sure that everybody may understand what a seal’s purpose is for a toilet. Because I work for a hotel makeover show, as well, and I was inspecting a property. And there were no seals on any of the toilets in the guest rooms. And in fact, I could take one finger and push the toilet completely back. And in some instances, water was coming right out the bottom.

    MARK: Right.

    LESLIE: So, what is the purpose here besides leaks?

    MARK: Sure. Well, it’s going to keep out the sewer gas and it’s also going to provide a good, watertight seal so that you don’t get floor damage or other things like that. And so, generally, in America, any toilet that you’re going to put down, somebody’s going to put some type of a wax ring or a seal down in order to make sure that you get a good, watertight seal around that floor.

    TOM: Now, when you do put that seal in place, there are variables, right? The average seal for a wax seal is about ¾-inch thick or so?

    MARK: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And sometimes, the flange is below the surface of the floor, especially if there were additional layers of tile that were added. And I’ve seen people put two wax seals on top of each other to try to sort of make up that space. Then the wax ends up squishing into the pipe and it blocks half of the waste pipe. And so then you get clogs and that sort of thing.

    Now, when you’ve designed this new seal, how did you account for the variations of the height of the floor?

    MARK: Yeah. Well, that’s a great question that you bring up because it’s very common. And in fact, if you go stand in front of an aisle to try to pick out a wax ring, even that can be confusing. Because to your point, there’s the regular ring, the thick ring, the extra-thick, the funnel, the not-the-funnel.

    TOM: Right.

    MARK: And so, this is a universal-fit product. And so, whether the flange that you’re going to set this on is an inch-and-a-half below the floor or ½-inch above the floor really doesn’t matter; it’ll fit all toilet installations.

    And the way that it does that is because the wax is encapsulated in the special design of the product. And so if you need the additional height – as you mentioned earlier, you’ll see people stack two rings on top of each other. We’ve seen even them stack three rings on top of each other. Well, you have this extra extension, this – it’s a blue rubber piece. It goes right on top of the regular product and that gets you the extra height.

    So it’s a universal-fit product. It’ll fit any toilet installation. It’s really, really simple.

    TOM: Now, you guys also have another product that is a replacement for the flange.

    Now, the flange, if you don’t know, is the part that really secures the toilet to the floor. It has slots for bolts that go up and you reach – those bolts will reach into the toilet and hold it down in place. But one of the problems with flanges is they break. And again, a very major, expensive repair to make. You guys have figured out how to completely eliminate that problem by designing a flange-repair kit. How does that work?

    MARK: Well, you’re right. This is another kind of problem that we see a lot. And so, if you get a wobbly toilet or it starts to leak, the general reaction is: “No problem. I’ll just go tighten down the bolts a little bit more,” right? That’s actually not always the right thing to do.

    LESLIE: Because you can crack everything.

    MARK: You actually crack the bolts underneath that are on that flange, so it makes it worse.

    So, this product here really eliminates all that, as well. All you really do – you don’t have to dig out the flange under the floor. You don’t have to call a plumber. You don’t have to tear up your floor and you don’t have to do any of that. You take any ordinary wax ring, you place it on the bottom of your product, you set the whole thing on top of the pipe and you just squish it down so you get a nice, good seal. It has a steel plate. The steel plate actually has toilet bolts built right into the steel plate.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: There’s no wobbling.

    MARK: They’re cut at the factory. There’s no wobble; there’s no nothing. You set your toilet down, you put your caps on, you’re ready to go. It’s really simple. We say, “You can’t screw it up. You just screw it down.”

    LESLIE: That’s good.

    TOM: You know, that’s – it’s interesting, too, because those toilet bowls are always kind of tricky to get in place because it’s a slot.

    MARK: Yeah.

    TOM: And it’s hard to screw them down. And the other thing is that you don’t necessarily feel how tight they are. And many folks will actually break their toilet bowls by tightening down too much. We always say, “If it feels tight, it’s done. Don’t push it.”

    MARK: Yeah, that won’t happen here. And it turns a two-person install into a one-person install because these bolts are already …

    LESLIE: You don’t have to hold those upright.

    MARK: Exactly.

    TOM: That’s terrific. Where can we find more information, Mark?

    MARK: Well, you can go to www.ItsAPerfectSeal.com.

    TOM: Mark Ayers from Danco, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Very interesting products.

    MARK: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, no more wrestling with tape measures. We’ll tell you about a new, laser distance measurer that’s so easy to use, you just point and click and you get your super-accurate measurements.

    TOM: The Money Pit continues from the 2014 National Hardware Show, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement Products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. “Like” us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are at the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, Nevada broadcasting from the Top Products Pavilion, where we are featuring some of the best of the best new-product innovations they introduce here at the National Hardware Show. You can follow along @MoneyPit on Twitter with the hashtag #TopProductsNHS.

    Well, we’re always looking for ways to make DIY easier. And one predicament many find themselves in is having to use a tape measure, particularly when you are by yourself, number one, and two, need to measure a really long distance, like a room.

    LESLIE: Well, that sounds like my day-to-day. Well, Stanley Tools has a new product that will definitely make taking those measurements a lot easier. So here to talk about the new Stanley line of laser distance measurers is Andrew DaSilva.

    And Andrew, I think one of the things that impressed me about these new tools is that they’re super-affordable and they’re really extremely easy to use. So, can you tell us more about it?

    ANDREW: Well, that was the whole point of the TLM65. Traditionally, laser distance measurers tend to be very complicated; they almost look like calculators with a measure button on it.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: True.

    ANDREW: And they were, typically, very pricey, as well. The TLM65 has a suggested retail price of 59.99, which is …

    LESLIE: That’s really affordable.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    ANDREW: Yeah, it’s very close to your traditional long tape. You know, it …

    TOM: It sounds like a secret weapon, too, the TLM65.

    LESLIE: Right.

    ANDREW: Well, 65 is the distance at which it will measure, so …

    TOM: And that’s amazing.

    ANDREW: Yeah.

    TOM: And it does that within an 1/8-inch of accuracy, right?

    ANDREW: Exactly. And it’s extremely easy to use. You pick it up. It’s got two buttons on it: one says “measure,” one says “area or volume or units.” So, literally, pick it up, turn it on, point to the location you want and you have your measurement instantaneously.

    TOM: And it’s a real sharp laser light, so you know exactly what you’re measuring, what surface is kind of coming back to the instrument and letting you know. So, it’s very, very quick.

    Because I think in the past, laser distance measurers have been somewhat more bulky and also overly complicated. Because you’re right: all you really want to know is distance, area or volume. And that’s pretty much it, for the most part.

    ANDREW: Exactly. The two-button design makes it super-easy. So, literally, your red button, right on the face, is measure. And with area, you take your length, your width. And volume, you do the same thing: length, width, height. And it gives it to you right there on the screen.

    And the measurements, as soon as you hit the button, it’s actually within fractions of a second that it calculates that distance.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It does happen super-fast. And I think a lot of the times when I’m out scouting a sight for a makeover or for a design client, everybody wants to know immediately – “How much is it going to cost? What am I going to need? How much of that do I need?” And you’re like trying to mentally figure it out. But with the measurer, I can really just sort of figure out quickly how much flooring I’m going to need, how much paint it’s going to take to do the room, how much of a wall covering.

    And that’s hugely helpful to just sort of give a quick estimate until I can actually sit down and figure out the formulaic response of “this is how many dollars it’s going to cost.”

    ANDREW: Yeah, exactly. It’s hugely helpful with applications like that, especially paint, tile. All that – all those flooring applications, those wall applications, they’re – it’s hugely beneficial.

    TOM: Right.

    ANDREW: I did my house, I did my kitchen. And I literally took the length and width and went to Home Depot with my square footage, so …

    TOM: There it was.

    ANDREW: Yeah.

    LESLIE: And how’d you do? Were you pretty close?

    ANDREW: Oh, it was dead on. Literally.

    LESLIE: I mean it’s so great.

    ANDREW: I did my five percent just kind of buffer space and I still had all that tile left over, so it was nice to get a little money back at the end.

    TOM: That’s good. Now, is this product on the market right now? Can we find it in stores today?

    ANDREW: Yes, you can. So, TLM65 is available, suggested retail price of 59.99. And it will be available at your local hardware stores and hopefully some of the big ones, as well.

    TOM: The product is called the TLM65. Andrew DaSilva, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ANDREW: It was a pleasure. Thank you very much.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We’ve been broadcasting from the 2014 National Hardware Show. Coming up next time on The Money Pit, Memorial Day Weekend is right around the corner. Time for big backyard blowouts to mark the beginning of summer entertaining season. We’ll have tips to help you get those spaces ready.

    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 2014 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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