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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)


    (promo/theme song)

    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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us with your home improvement questions. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Call us with your ideas, your inspirations, your dreams. Let us help you make your house your home and your castle.

    We are doing a very special broadcast today. We are in the Home Depot in Atlanta, Georgia to help kick off the largest, the biggest, the most fabulous home show ever held anywhere in America. It’s called Home Show ’06. And what’s cool about this is it’s happening simultaneously in all 1,000 plus Home Depots all across the country. So you can go, today, to any Home Depot in America and participate in Home Show ’06.

    LESLIE: And it’s actually, you know, this Home Show ’06 is a super-huge event here. And it’s not just at this store; it’s at every Home Depot across the nation. And just this morning, we did a clinic on innovative paint applications and there are tons of clinics going on all around the nation.

    TOM: We’re going to talk about some great new ways to organize your home and create storage where maybe it didn’t exist before.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and also ahead, you can’t tackle home improvement projects without power tools. So we’re going to learn all about an entire new generation of cordless power tools that use lithium ion technology to help take your projects to a whole new level.

    TOM: And if you’re thinking of tackling a kitchen makeover this fall, don’t do it yet. Wait, because later this hour we’re going to be talking to an expert on the latest kitchen trends, including smart appliances that will do the work for you. I think the appliances are now smarter than we are.

    LESLIE: Yeah, they actually put the dishes in the dishwasher, so you don’t have to do anything at all. (chuckling)

    TOM: They don’t forget. (laughing).

    LESLIE: Alright. But first, we want to talk about a subject near and dear to everyone’s hearts; especially when you start paying those first fall heating bills. You know, energy prices might be out of your control, but energy efficiency isn’t. And there are also so many new products to bring personal efficiency into your life.

    TOM: Well, you may not be able to do much about those energy prices but there are things that you can do right now to save money by reducing the energy you use in your home. Joining us to tell us how is Roger Adams. He’s the senior vice president of marketing with The Home Depot.

    You have a new line of light bulbs out that actually can cut the energy use by like 75 percent.

    ROGER: Yeah, that’s true and there’s been a lot of innovations in the compact fluorescent field that a lot of people aren’t aware of. People had seen them maybe three, four years ago and they may not have liked the light that was coming out of them.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    ROGER: They may have been too bright.

    TOM: Right.

    ROGER: They come in three different kind of brightness levels right now. They come in a soft white, which is very similar to what people have at home right now; and there’s a daylight and a bright white. So you have different light conditions for what you’re looking for but all of them save tremendously on energy. It’s the simplest thing that anyone can do to save energy in their home.

    LESLIE: How much longer do they last than incandescent?

    ROGER: Well, they can last up to nine years.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: But that’s crazy. (chuckling)

    TOM: You’re not going to be able to sell too many of those after (chuckling) the first are out. (laughing)

    ROGER: Yeah, well there’s so many people that just haven’t done – they haven’t taken that first step.

    TOM: That’s true.

    ROGER: Just – I would tell anyone, just take one home and put it somewhere and give it a try.

    TOM: You’ll never change again.

    ROGER: And you’re converted. Yeah.

    TOM: It’s habits. Part of this is just breaking old habits. We have a lot of energy wasting habits that take some doing to get out of.

    LESLIE: You mean I’m not supposed to leave the lights on when I leave the room?

    TOM: Or the water running when you brush your teeth.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s true. (laughter)

    ROGER: I tell you what I discovered myself is on the outside floodlights now – there are fluorescent lights that you can put outdoors for floodlights. And if you’re like me, you’ve got to get that long extension ladder out and go change that light bulb up there. And these can last up to nine years. That’s pretty attractive, that you only have to change them once.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) You only want to do that one time.

    LESLIE: What about with windows? There are so many new advancements with low-e glass. What are we seeing new, as far as that, with energy saving?

    ROGER: Yeah, it’s another great one that’s – a lot of people don’t know about the low-e glass. And we have a version of it from Andersen that is not only low-e but it’s also – it’s self-cleaning. It really prevents …

    TOM: Wait. It’s a self-cleaning window?

    ROGER: It’s self-cleaning. It …

    LESLIE: That’s fantastic.

    TOM: Unbelievable. (chuckling)

    ROGER: It appears self-cleaning. It keeps the …

    TOM: Wow.

    ROGER: There’s a fine coating that’s on the outside of them that prevents any water spots from building up. So, it’s – you’d have to see it to believe it, but – it has all the energy-efficiency that you’re looking for, but it also keeps the dirt and the water spots from showing on the outside.

    LESLIE: And I think a lot of people are looking to make simple renovations to bathrooms and changing a faucet can be so simple but also kind of complicated if you don’t have experience. So what’s new as far as efficiency and, you know, cleanliness?

    ROGER: Well, there’s a couple of things that we’re really high on that we’re featuring in the Home Show. One is from American Standard. It’s – Ever Clean is a new faucet that’s out and it’s just one-touch cleaning. You know, sometimes in a – let’s say you have a bright chrome …

    LESLIE: Stubborn water spots.

    ROGER: You hit a water spot or you have to scrub it two or three times or you have to get out a special kind of cleaner. And this is just a one touch that will clean it. There’s also a speed-connect feature for these that, I dare say, virtually anyone could change a faucet. So you could take this faucet home and do it yourself. Just read the simple instructions.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) There’s like a third less parts, right?

    ROGER: There’s a – yeah, there’s very few parts to it and you don’t need special tools. So it’s just a matter of following the directions. Make sure the water line is shut off … (chuckling)

    TOM: Right.

    ROGER: … before you start.

    TOM: That’s right. Step one.

    ROGER: But, after that, it’s all pretty easy. So, it’s a great innovation that makes more people a do-it-yourselfer. So people that might have been afraid to try to a faucet job in the past are coming in and trying this. And then, if you get the benefit of this – the Ever Clean finish as well, there’s something there for everybody.

    LESLIE: So, windows that clean themselves; fixtures that clean themselves. I’m looking to do no housework.

    TOM: You know, I think we’re talking about saving different types of energy here. We’re talking about saving gas and oil …

    LESLIE: Personal energy.

    ROGER: (chuckling) That’s true.

    TOM: … but also your personal energy. I want to ask you about a product that I saw here that I really – I didn’t know it existed before. You know, they say good fences make good neighbors.

    ROGER: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Well, I saw a good fence that’s going to be one I really don’t have to really maintain for a long time. There’s actually a product now called Veranda Fencing …

    ROGER: Yes.

    TOM: … which is a vinyl fence that, once you put it up, you never have to replace it.

    ROGER: Yeah, it’s great. This whole line of Veranda that we – that we have in the store, it has composite decking that doesn’t need to be painted; doesn’t need to be stained; doesn’t need waterproofing; it is just completely low maintenance. And it goes along with it; we have the vinyl fencing that will match the Veranda decking. So you have a whole assortment of products that you can put in a home. But the key thing is there’s no maintenance. And beyond no maintenance is they last a last a long time because, as I’m sure you know, if the – if you have a deck or you have a fence and you don’t take care of it …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    ROGER: … you don’t treat it …

    TOM: Right.

    ROGER: … then you could be replacing it in two or three years …

    TOM: Very short – (inaudible).

    ROGER: … depending on where you live in the country.

    LESLIE: And they don’t require any refinishing.

    ROGER: That’s right.

    LESLIE: Just sort of a seasonal cleaning.

    ROGER: So, not only is it low maintenance but then you don’t have to worry about changing them out. So much like a fluorescent light bulb, as we’re talking about …

    TOM: Right.

    ROGER: … they last for a long time. So, everyone’s looking to save money on their home and people are living longer in their homes these days. Little things like this can make a big difference.

    LESLIE: Do it once, do it right.

    TOM: And don’t do it again.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Exactly.

    TOM: I saw a mulch that had a weed control, too. But – and this is brilliant. And why didn’t somebody think of that before?

    ROGER: It really is the first one ever. I hadn’t really thought about that but it’s the – it’s called Weed Stop and it comes from our Vigoro brand. And it’s the first combination of mulch with a herbicide in it, which sounds like a logical combination to me but it just had never been done before. So, it controls weeds, like rye grass and crab grass, up to four months. And it’s made from natural forest products, so it’s something that – again, simple thing anyone can do and it’ll prevent you from going out and bending – you know, breaking your back …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    ROGER: … pulling weeds as you go through the years.

    TOM: Well, I tell you what. Home …

    LESLIE: Well, I mean it really seems like so many of these things are just meant to make your life easier.

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE: So you can do this improvement maybe twice a year instead of five times a year.

    ROGER: Well, and the thing for us with the Home Show is we have one of these – or two of these in every department, but we have, you know, tens of thousands of products in the store. So we thought, ‘Why don’t we just create a – create an event and make it easier for people to come in and find it.’ So for the next week or so, you’re going to see this in the Home Depot stores, where people can come in and get a guide and walk through and see the innovations that are – that are now in store for a home.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, broadcasting live from Atlanta, Georgia from Home Show ’06, the largest home improvement show in the world; being held simultaneously in over 1,000 Home Depots all across America. And it’s really all about innovation.

    LESLIE: Yeah, exactly …

    TOM: Energy efficiency.

    LESLIE: All of it.

    Alright, Money Pit listeners. Well, now you can call in your home repair or home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We’re always here for you. So keep that magic number -1-888-MONEY-PIT – for any day you might run into a problem.

    TOM: Roger Adams with The Home Depot, thanks so much for stopping by. Very innovative products; very exciting. Thanks for allowing us to be part of Home Show ’06.

    ROGER: Great, Tom and Leslie …

    TOM: It’s a really historic event.

    ROGER: Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Roger.

    TOM: We’re going to take a short break but, up next, have you been collecting stuff all summer long? You want to know how to get a hold on all that stuff and organize it? We’re going to talk about that, right after these words.

    (promo/theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.

    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: We are broadcasting a very special edition of The Money Pit today from The Home Depot store in Atlanta, Georgia to help launch Home Show ’06. It’s the largest home improvement show in the world.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and if you walk into a Home Depot right now through September 24th, you’re going to see product demos, in-store clinics that highlight hundreds of the most innovative products for your home. Or you can check out everything online at HomeDepot.com/HomeShow and you’ll really get a good understanding of what’s going on.

    TOM: And they have this really cool interactive house there that you can take a tour for.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I know. How cool is it? You sort of take a tour on the house. You can even shop there and sort of click on appliances in that room and find out all about them.

    TOM: Well, you know, one of the hardest things for me to get a handle on at my house is clutter. I’ve got three kids and just tons of stuff.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Lots of stuff.

    TOM: There’s always plenty of stuff around. But here to tell us some ways that we can control clutter in the house is Lynn Casfonger (sp). She’s the vice president of merchandising for the western division of Home Depot.

    So Lynn, you know, so many storage products that we see today are very sterile; plastic buckets, things like that. Where are storage trends going? Are we trying to put a little more style into the storage areas of our homes?

    LYNN: Absolutely. More decorative options. Consumers are looking for more upscale, decorative, colorful options for their homes. And practical, too. So we have a slew of new products; a larger assortment of those products that will help them get more organized and get rid of the clutter. And – inside and out. You can do it in the garage and inside your home as well.

    LESLIE: Are you seeing that there are more advancements in cabinetry or styles of cabinetry or bookcases? What are things looking like?

    LYNN: More advanced decorative options; trendier, different finishes. And we are making it easier, as well, for them – you can use – with a ClosetMaid Selectives you can use the track system or you can just stand alone; have your cabinets and your different styles and your different colors installed in your closet. It’s wonderful.

    LESLIE: So is it really shying away from these plastic storage bins and more built-in items with drawers and specific shelvings? Do you really have to have an understanding of how you want to store things or can you sort of figure it out here in the store?

    LYNN: No, the beauty of the system is that they kind of grow with you. You can really adapt them. You can – you know, as your organizational changes needs; as your family grows or get older or your children get older, it’s easier for you to adapt to it. So, they’re really, really easy to adapt to.

    TOM: So the flexibility is sort of a trend and being able to have something that’s not – built in but can be changed.

    LYNN: That’s correct.

    TOM: You know, as the shoes go from, you know, size one to size 10 …

    LYNN: Correct.

    TOM: … you got to look at my house (ph), you can actually make more room and move things around. Because different – I think different things become a different priority to store. (chuckling)

    LYNN: That’s right. And so, we’re seeing a huge demand for garage organization as well.

    TOM: That was my goal for years and I finally got the cabinets and got the storage bins and now I actually have room for the car in the garage.

    LYNN: That’s right.

    TOM: But I’m not in the habit of putting it there. But I just like walking into the space. (laughing)

    LYNN: It’s roomier.

    LESLIE: Lynn, are a lot of these organization items things that you build and install yourself or are these things that the pros from Home Depot can come and do for you?

    LYNN: We do have some installation services that can come and install it for you but, for the most part, they’re really easy, do-it-yourself products that we have here. The ClosetMaid Selectives are exclusively offered with – at The Home Depot. And they’re – you can have them freestanding in your closet or you can have it mounted with a shelf track system. And it’s really easy. You can really do it yourself.

    TOM: So there’s a lot of options and you can do it yourself.

    LYNN: Absolutely.

    TOM: And you guys are here to help them out with that.

    LYNN: We are.

    TOM: Lynn Casfonger (sp) with The Home Depot, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit and you’re inspiring me to get organized.

    LYNN: Alright.

    LESLIE: Alright, Lynn, thanks very much.

    Well Tom, if you’re handy, you can also build storage for your home; you know, creating shelves, storage bins or toy boxes from scratch. But you’ll need good power tools to get the job done right and there’s a whole new generation of tools out there with better, stronger batteries. And joining us with more info is Bill Godwin (sp) who is the merchandising VP of hardware.

    Welcome, Bill.

    TOM: Hi, Bill.

    BILL: Nice to be here.

    LESLIE: Well, welcome. Tell us. You brought a box of things for us. Of course, our listeners can’t see (chuckling), but tell us what you’ve brought.

    TOM: Let’s play.

    BILL: Well, I actually brought a few tools that you can’t see on the radio but I thought I’d describe some of the values that are coming out in the marketplace.

    What we’re finding in hand tools is customers are intrigued where you can bring them a tool that makes it easier; it’s ergonomically designed. And here’s an example of a …

    LESLIE: This is a crescent wrench.

    BILL: This is a crescent wrench that might …

    TOM: But there’s no knob on it so you (inaudible) open or close.

    BILL: (overlapping voices) There’s no knob.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, this is excellent.

    TOM: You just – there’s a slider that actually opens and closes the (inaudible).

    LESLIE: Easier; especially if you’re an older do-it-yourselfer trying to adjust that knob, every time, to lock it on there. This really slides quite nicely. What else? Ooh, let’s see.

    BILL: Well, and this is another one that will be hitting the stores in the next two weeks. It’s an auto wrench which is the same concept but it’s got a battery built into it and it – battery push button adjusts to the – to the (inaudible) (sound). (laughter)

    LESLIE: Oh, it – well, listen (ph). (sound) That’s fantastic.

    TOM: (laughing) Wow, it’s a battery-powered wrench.

    LESLIE: I love things that make noise and are battery-operated. (laughter) Very fun.

    BILL: And here’s another one that we’re going to be featuring in the next …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s an automatic tape measure.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s an automatic tape measure.

    BILL: (overlapping voices) It’s an automatic tape that’s battery operated and (inaudible) extend.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) You push the button and the tape goes out. Wow.

    LESLIE: It’s like the lazy man’s measuring (inaudible).

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, you don’t need a second person.

    BILL: (overlapping voices) That’s right. But for $20, it’s a great value and it allows a person to do a lot of projects on their own they might otherwise not be able to do.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And this is from Black&Decker and it’s 25 feet, right?

    BILL: That’s right.

    LESLIE: That’s right.

    TOM: Talking to Bill Godwin. He’s a tool expert with The Home Depot.

    I want to ask you about battery power. It seems that we’re able to get a lot more life out of our tools.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I’m poking at you with this. Sorry.

    TOM: (chuckling) Is the battery power changing?

    BILL: It definitely is changing. There’s a – there’s a new battery that’s being used. It’s lithium ion batteries.

    TOM: Lithium ion. Now, isn’t – that’s the same battery you use in computers and things of that nature.

    BILL: (overlapping voices) It is but it’s a different – it’s different amperage. It’s not the problem that you have with computers. And actually, we’ve done a lot of studying with that, with the recent announcements with Dell and …

    TOM: Yeah, with Sony batteries.

    BILL: … Sony. Exactly right. But these batteries are lighter. That’s another thing customers are looking for is lighter weight tools, so …

    TOM: (overlapping voices) And they pack like …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because when you get to an 18-volt drill, they get quite heavy.

    BILL: But …

    LESLIE: So how does that compare with lithium ion?

    BILL: They’re about 20 percent lighter and what’s great about them is they give you more performance with the less weight. The other piece is they have fade-free work; whereas normally when you have a tool …

    TOM: Fade-free as in power fade free.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Sort of winds down slowly.

    BILL: It will not wind down. It will go …

    TOM: Oh, so it goes full strength from start to stop.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And then it stops.

    BILL: Absolutely.

    TOM: Wow.

    BILL: And it also will give you more cycles.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) And the nikehead batteries don’t do that.

    BILL: They do not. They do not.

    TOM: Cool.

    BILL: And you’re able to get more cycles out of the batteries as well. And we have tools in lithium ion for a consumer – you could have a drill for $39 that you actually could put in your drawer and it would stay charged for 18 months.

    TOM: Wow. So it doesn’t lose power overnight.

    BILL: It will not lose power.

    LESLIE: Does the lithium ion technology also allow you to have tools that wouldn’t normally be battery-powered as battery-powered?

    BILL: Well, that’s the other thing in some of the lithium tools. We have some products from Milwaukee and deWalt that are 28 volt and 36 volt and they give you the same power as a corded tool with the portability.

    LESLIE: Wow, that’s fantastic.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) I also saw the Ryobi One+ system here which is 18 volts but the same battery works like 28 different tools.

    BILL: Exactly. That’s one of the more innovative things we have at The Home Depot. And you can only get that at The Home Depot. It – one battery will operate over 28 tools …

    TOM: Wow.

    BILL: … which gives you the flexibility to …

    TOM: Get all those jobs …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, it lets you to buy one system …

    BILL: (overlapping voices) Absolutely.

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE: … and just keep on expanding as your skills grow.

    TOM: Right.

    Bill Godwin (sp) with The Home Depot, thanks for stopping by …

    LESLIE: Thanks, Bill.

    TOM: … The Money Pit.

    BILL: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: Well, up next, we’re going to talk about a home improvement project that is also a great investment. In fact, over the last several years, this project has consistently delivered a 98

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