How to Make Your Home Safe for the Holidays with Money Pit’s Tom Kraeutler

Home improvement expert and The Money Pit co-host, Tom Kraeutler joined me for an interview recently to dish simple tips on how you can make your home safer this holiday season. He also shared the must have gifts every DIYer on your list needs for the holidays!

Candace Rose: Holiday season is peak season for household guests- what are some easy ways to make our homes really shine?

Tom Kraeutler: “This time of year, if you’re going to tackle a home improvement project, you want to make sure it’s pretty simple. For example something like staining furniture may not qualify as simple, however there’s a new product out that makes it just that. It’s from Minwax, and they’re called Wood Finishing Cloths. Basically what Minwax has done is figured out a way to combine wood stain and finish in a wipe on cloth. Let me show you how it works, first of all everything comes in the packages…you’ve got the finishing cloths and two gloves, then what you do is you sand the wood that you’re working on, you take the wood and you wipe it on the wood surface. Now what you want to do is wipe it on good, get all the nooks and crannies. If you have a little extra on there it’s no problem, what you’re going to do is wipe off that excess…and guess what? As simple as that it’s totally done. It dries in just an hour. If you’ve got any on your hands or anything like that, easy soap and water clean up. For $7.99 you get eight cloths.”

Candace Rose: Garages and entryways get extra use during this time of year. Are there any new trends to make these spaces more functional?

Tom Kraeutler: “Garages and entryways…absolutely- when you think about it with all the traveling that’s going on, it is getting a lot of use. Let me tell you about a new product from Schlage that does that, it’s called the Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt. The way this works is it has lock and leave functionality. You touch the Schlage logo on the front of the touchscreen and the door locks. What this lock also does it has built-in alarm. So if someone was to tamper with your door, and shake it to try to get in…the alarm goes off. I can disable it from the inside.

Let me tell how you can actually use the codes. You can program up to 30 different codes, so I programmed one that’s very easy (please see video above to watch Tom demonstrate how to program the code). When you think about it, every member of the family can have their own code. Also, if you have workmen, babysitters, people that need codes for short periods of time…you can give them a code and remove it when it’s no longer needed. It’s got a fingerprint resistant finish on the touchscreen. Why that’s important is because if it doesn’t have that those numbers can wear and people can figure out what their code is, so that’s kind of cool. The exterior plate is very slim, so the storm door won’t interfere with it and it has an anti-pick resistant key lock built-in as well, so that’s the Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt.

Now let me give you a couple of different gift ideas for home improvers on your shopping list. If you do a lot of work in the garage, what you need is air, you need power and you need light, and you can get that all with the Chamberlain Garage Power Station. The way this product works is it mounts on the garage ceiling, it has a 25 foot retractable cord that you simply pull out and then on the garage power station one on the end you’re going to find a multipurpose inflator, so the inflator can be used for bike tires, car tires and that sort of thing. You’re also going to find an electrical outlet. If you turn it over, you have a work light. The work light is an LED work light, the light bulbs will last to 100,000 hours. When you’re done, you simply pull it back, retract it back to the work station and it disappears out of sight.

Lastly, Candace, I’ll give you one more suggestion for a gift idea, and that’s this new product from Stanley, this is called the TwinTec ratcheting wrench, it’s like having 27 tools in one. Many of us use socket sets for our projects and sometimes you grab a socket, and you grab the wrong one and end up going back and forth a lot. You don’t have to do that with this product because it has quick adjust dials on the front side of it here, so you adjust the size of the socket that you need and then you simply go and tighten it up (please see video above to watch Tom demonstrate how to use the Stanley TwinTec ratcheting wrench). It will handle all those hex sizes and square bolts, spline bolts and even rounded head fasteners. It’s got a limited lifetime warranty and it’s only $29.99, so it’s really a great stocking stuffer or gift for the home improver on your gift list.”

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?

Tom Kraeutler: “On our website at we have a gallery that’s home improvement ideas and projects for the holidays, so head on over to our website at, that’s all right there.”


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