The weather is turning cooler, the kids are back in school and the leaves are getting ready to turn colors. Fall has arrived and, according to home improvement experts, it is one of the most popular times for home improvement projects. Tom Kraeutler, host of the nationally syndicated Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, calls this the 'Goldilocks Time' for home improvement. "It's not too hot and not too cold. But it's just right to tackle all kinds of inside and outside projects," he said. For example, Kraeutler says that before winter sets in, now is a good time to evaluate exterior components like windows and doors, as well as look for less obvious places where cold air can sneak in and raise heating costs, such as around outlets and light switches.
Debby Robinson, Kraeutler's co-host on the program says Fall is also a good time to look inside your home for improvement that might make the long, dark winter more pleasant. "A fresh coat of paint can change the entire atmosphere of a room," she said.
Both experts say that choosing the right product for the job is also important. "If you do your homework, you can save time and money, getting the job done more efficiently," says Robinson.
Some of the most popular/important fall projects include:
DECORATING -- PAINT
To transform the look of a room inexpensively, add a splash of color with a new coat of paint. "One of my favorite new products on the market is Kilz Casual Colors one-coat paint," offers Kraeutler. "It truly covers over any color in one coat, with a variety of finishes for both indoor and outdoor use. It's a terrific time-saver with 243 'guaranteed' one coat colors to choose from and a great buy at less than $20 a gallon."
Another feature Kraeutler likes about the paint is the container. The new gallon has an extra wide easy-to-grip handle and a convenient removable pour spout with a brush wipe. The quart size has indentions for a better non-slip grip. Both containers have wide screw-on caps to eliminate the hassle and mess of pounding on and prying off paint lids; the caps also serve as a handy paint cup for trim work or hard-to-reach places. Kilz Casual Colors is available at select retailer near you. (To find the store nearest you, visit http://www.casualcolors.com or call 1-866-ASK KILZ (1-866-275-5459).
With energy prices continuing to climb, energy and money saving measures can be a big help. Air leakage accounts for between 25 and 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a typical home. Before the weather gets too cold, Robinson suggests checking around doors, windows and joints in building materials for air leakage. There are many products available for air sealing in your home including caulks, sealants and insulating foams. Robinson particularly likes two products by DAP(r), a leader in the home construction and repair industry.
"The latest advancement in foam sealants is DAPtex(r) Plus Window & Door Foam Sealant with CoVinyl-X9000," said Robinson. "It's user-friendly so you don't have to worry about overfilling spaces or it over-expanding. Even someone who has never done caulking can successfully use it to create a permanent seal around windows, doors, pipes, vents and outlets, even in large gaps." Robinson also likes it because the aerosol can makes it is easy to apply and cleans up with soap and water. Another favorite is the Phenoseal(r) Vinyl Adhesive Caulk, good for just about any job since it can seal and bond a variety of materials and can be used inside and out. In addition, once it is cured, it is mildew resistant and waterproof. For smaller jobs it comes in an easy to use 1.7 ounce squeeze tube so a caulk gun isn't needed. DAP caulks and sealants are available at home centers nationwide.
While you are checking for air leakage, it's also a good time to evaluate your windows. "If they are in bad shape, it might be time to consider new ones. New state-of-the-art materials are big energy-savers," advises Kraeutler. If you do decide it is time to replace them, Kraeutler suggests finding a high-quality window with a reliable warranty and it should also carry the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Label.
Kraeutler recommends Andersen Windows, particularly the Andersen(r) 400 Series Woodwright(tm) double-hung. "The type and look of a window can change the appearance of your home from the curb, and also the light and style of a room inside," he says. The Woodwright offers traditional styling with Andersen High Performance (tm) Low-E glass that is 35 percent more energy efficient than ordinary dual-pane glass in winter and 41 percent more efficient in summer. Like other Andersen products, the Woodwright double-hung window offers a 20-year warranty on glass and a 10-year limited warranty on non-glass parts. For more information visit www.andersencorp.com
Be it leaving on vacation or traveling over the holidays; make sure your home is secure. Since the 1970s door and window security systems worldwide use sensors that incorporate a magnetic switch. Robinson says these switches are not only fragile and prone to problems, as they are easily "duped".
"Just by placing a stronger magnet next to the security switch, the door or window can be opened without sounding the alarm. Magnasphere technology overcomes those weaknesses and provides home and businesses with government level security for just $30 - $50 more for an average home," says Robinson. The Magnasphere switch will not break and is not able to be short- circuited magnetically and can be used with any security system control. For more information contact your local security system dealer/installer, or have them visit http://www.magnaspherecorp.com
Get your home ready for the holidays and for winter - and by choosing the best products for the job save yourself some time and money.
About The Money Pit(r) - The Money Pit is a nationally syndicated live call-in home improvement radio show, hosted by veteran broadcasters Tom Kraeutler and Debby Robinson. The show is produced by Squeaky Door Productions, Inc., and airs each Saturday and Sunday on over 115 stations across the United States. Kraeutler and Robinson answer listener calls about home improvement, safety and maintenance, as well as cover a host of consumer issues. In 2004, Talkers Magazine named them among the "100 Most Important Talk Show Hosts in America." Kraeutler and Robinson also appear frequently as experts on news television programs and author frequent columns. For more information go to http://www.moneypit.com.