How do you replace vinyl siding? Ask Lou on NBC’s Today Show

Lou shows Kathie Lee and Hoda some tips and tricks for hiding electrical cords, how to choose the right front door and demonstrates how to replace vinyl siding.

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5 Cheap, DIY Projects to Spruce Up Your Home This Spring

SALT LAKE CITY — If the exterior of your home got a little worn down and neglected during winter, check out these easy do-it-yourself projects to spruce up your yard and home.

Lou Manfredini has been a homebuilder and renovator for 25 years. Now he serves as Ace Hardware’s home expert, and he offered several tips for homeowners to update the exteriors of their homes.

Clean up

The first thing Manfredini recommends is to clean up and declutter the outside of your home. Winter can often mat down shrubs and break branches in your yard, giving it an unkempt look. Spend a day raking up dead grass, pruning your bushes or trees and using a pressure washer to clean away mud or dirt from the sidewalks and driveway.

“It will be remarkable how much better your exterior on and around your home can look,” Manfredini said. “And you really didn’t spend any money, it was just really more of your time.”

He also suggested standing across the street to take a look at your home. A new vantage point can help you notice things that should be fixed like missing shingles.

Paint

A new coat of paint can go a long way in preventing your home from looking drab or rundown. Manfredini recommended touching up areas where the paint has started peeling, whether on the house or fence. He also suggested using accent colors to make your home look fresh and new.

“If you really want to change the look of your home, then paint the front door a color, and I mean a real color — a deep green or a deep red or a purple,” he said.

He said if you have shutters on your home to paint them a corresponding color to brighten the overall appearance.

Cost: $10 for good paint brush and $30 for typical gallon of paint

Add lighting

Adding flood lights can go a long way in brightening and “adding life to your home in the evening,” Manfredini said. A simple way to do it is to buy two LED flood lights, attach them to stakes, stick them in your front lawn close to the front of your home and point the lights towards your house. You can also buy stake lights.

“It’s accent lighting that creates a funnel effect of light,” he said. “It’s really a beautiful look.”

Manfredini recommended centering the lights if you have a center-entry home.

Cost: $12.99 for stakes and $20 for two packs of LED lightbulbs

Condition your lawn

The largest area around most homes is usually the lawn and so if the lawn is yellow or untrimmed, it is very noticeable. Manfredini said one of the best ways to achieve a really green lawn is to use soil conditions, not just fertilizers.

He recommends using Milorganite, an all-natural soil conditioner, and sprinkling it on your grass about once a month during the spring and summer. Too much fertilizer can burn out the grass, but you can use soil conditioner more regularly, Manfredini said.

“It’s full of iron and so it gets inside the soil and it has so many nutrients in it that it gets inside the soil and it feeds the root of the plant,” he said.

Cost: $12.99 per bag

Fill in cracks and put sealcoat on driveway

Asphalt driveways can crack and often look worn out after a few years. Manfredini said putting a sealcoat on your driveway will not only protect it from further damage, but it will make it look brand new.

First, you should take a broom and sweep the driveway really well. Then use a bucket of soapy water to wash the driveway, using a broom as a scrub brush. After you have sprayed off the driveway, let it completely drive.

Next, take an asphalt crack filler and fill in all the cracks in your driveway. After it dries, use a squeegee or paint roller to spread the asphalt sealant — Manfredini recommends the Black Jack brand.

For best results, don’t do it when the temperature is above 80 degrees or right in the middle of the day. Also, check the weather and make sure it isn’t going to rain before you do it. Asphalt sealant typically take 48 hours to completely dry, so don’t drive on it before then, Manfredini said.

Cost: $39.99 to $69.99 for five gallons of asphalt sealant

STORY FROM KSL.COM – UTAH

Lou stops by Seattle’s New Day Northwest!

Lou stopped by KING-5’s New Day Northwest in Seattle today. He gave 5 home improvement projects that’ll get you the best bang for your buck. Check it out! Big shout out to Hero Ace Hardware for supplying all the products!

#1 Energy efficient lighting

#2 Programmable Thermostat

#3 Keyless entry system (Schlage)

#4 Freshen with paint (Clark + Kensington/Valspar Optimus)

#5 Resurface garage floor (Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield)

Are Tankless Water Heaters Worth the Cost? Ask Lou on NBC’s Today Show

How can I replace a worn-out socket on a lamp without being electrocuted?

“This is one of the easiest things to do,” Lou said. “You can rewire a lamp for less than $15.” [Read more…]

Special Upcoming Appearance!

On Friday, March 13th, Lou will be competing in the “Dancing with Chicago Celebrities,” an amazing fundraising event for breast cancer research taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. ANY donation you could make would be appreciated to support this important cause and, of course, Lou’s “happy feet.”

Just click the link below!

http://www.amdwcc.org/Lou_Manfredini_-_WGN_Ra.html

Some Things to Keep in Mind When Remodeling Your Home

No matter what you want to improve – a bathroom, a kitchen, an addition, or even a deck – your contractor is the most important piece in the remodeling puzzle. (Architects will be part of a later blog, so don’t worry). Their talent, communication skills, attitude, and professionalism are the keys in getting what you want. [Read more…]

Table Talk

Getting your family speaking to each other at the dinner table can be tough.  We are all so busy that if we are lucky enough to all sit down together, many times all you’re hearing is the sound of utensils clanging against the plates.  In our home, we try to have family dinners every night, and with four children that can be tough. Those of you with teens and pre-teens, you know getting them to speak for more than 3 seconds at a time can be quite a challenge.  Our answer to this is to discuss the best things and worst things about our day. Once we are all seated, we say a little prayer, then each of us says at least three positives, and no more than three negatives about the day. Positive things like; “I got a good grade on my paper at school,” “we’re having a delicious dinner,” or “our basketball team won the game.” Now, at our house you do not have to have a negative, but you cannot pass on your turn.  It’s our attempt to not only keep us all connected, but a way to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, something I think we should all do more often than not.

Today Show Ask Lou: Rusty Tools, Protect Glass While Painting and Bringing the Luster Back to Marble Countertops.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What is the best method to remove rust from old tools?

One way to keep those older tools looking new is to attach a wire brush to the end of a drill. Safely turn the drill on and begin rubbing the rusted tool sections with the wire brush. The rust should disappear as you do so. Another option is to use naval jelly to wipe rust away.

Is there anything I can use to protect window glass instead of tape when I am painting the wall around it?

Consider purchasing Masking Liquid H20 and applying the liquid to the glass. Don’t panic, it will dry clear! Then paint the wall around the window. If any paint gets on the glass, you will be able to peel the paint off once it dries because of the liquid.

I used a cleaner that ruined my marble counter tops and now they no longer shine. How can I get the shine back?

Losing the shine on marble counter tops is a common issue. I suggest getting that glossy finish back by applying car wax onto the surface. This should make the surface regain its lost shine.

Make Sure Your Holidays are Merry and Safe

We have four children, two at home and two away at college.  My wife and I so excited to have everyone home for Christmas. Our house is decorated and ready for the festivities to begin. I have also made sure that the home is safe, and you should too.  Below is a checklist of items to check off your holiday safety list.  Happy Holidays! [Read more…]

Make Your Home Easier to Maintain!

Here are ten products you can install and use to update your home, and make it easier to maintain. Most of these items can be found at your local participating Ace Hardware store.

1.     Honeywell WIFI Programmable Thermostat. This device installs like a standard thermostat, and allows the user to control the temperature in your home from any WIFI enabled device, $249.

2.      Whole house gas generator.  These units can power your entire home in the event of a power outage.  They run off of natural gas or propane, and will kick on in as little as 30 seconds when the power goes out, and can run indefinitely.  This unit does need to be installed by a seasoned DIY’er or professional. They cost around $4,000-$6,000, depending on the size. [Read more…]