Three vinyl windows, seen close up, reflecting a picturesque neighborhood
Vinyl windows have a lot to offer — if you need the must-have features. (©Noel, Adobe Stock Photos)

Not all vinyl windows are created equal. Companies making them during the economic recession of 2008 and the following years manufactured some notoriously substandard windows.

But that doesn’t mean they’re all bad.

Joe Truini suggests six things to look for when shopping for vinyl windows. Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast for those and more home improvement tips!

  • [skipto time=1:53][1:53][/skipto] Around the Yard: Ways to reduce heat stress on your lawn during the hot, dry summer
  • [skipto time=4:40][4:40][/skipto] What you should check right now in your attic
  • [skipto time=6:38][6:38][/skipto] Checking in with Chelsea’s latest project: building a planter using cedar
  • [skipto time=10:33][10:33][/skipto] Best New Product: PPG’s Interior General-Purpose, Zero VOC Primer
  • [skipto time=12:44][12:44][/skipto] ‘We may replace our windows with vinyl. Is there a way to research a brand we may not have heard of but is used by a professional installer?
  • [skipto time=18:59][18:59][/skipto] ‘How can we cover a 1½-inch gap under the wood door that leads from our kitchen out to the porch?
  • [skipto time=22:20][22:20][/skipto] Simple Solution: An easy and efficient way to sand the edges of rough boards
  • [skipto time=23:42][23:42][/skipto] ‘All the paint is off my barn and I was thinking probably an oil-based stain would be better than paint. What do you think?’
  • [skipto time=24:49][24:49][/skipto] ‘I’ve got brick with phosphorescence on it. Is there a way to get that white chalky coating off of my brick?’
  • [skipto time=26:11][26:11][/skipto] ‘I’m considering buying another property; however, I witnessed moisture on the walls. Help!’
  • [skipto time=29:25][29:25][/skipto] Question of the Week: ‘My chimney is separating from my house! What can I do?’

Around the Yard

This time of the summer, things are getting pretty hot wherever you live. We often talk about protecting ourselves from the heat, and that’s important, but it’s also important to think about protecting your lawn from the heat.

Heat is one of the biggest stresses for a lawn, so do what you can to reduce the stress. Watering is a no-brainer. When it’s hot, you get thirsty, and so does your lawn.

If you walk across the grass and it sounds crunchy or stays bent down, it needs water. Water early in the morning to minimize evaporation.

Speaking of walking on the grass, that’s another thing that causes it stress. So, when it’s really hot and dry, limit foot traffic as much as possible.

While fertilizers help feed the lawn, that push to create new growth also causes stress, so hold off on that until the weather cools a little.

Finally, when you cut the lawn, be sure you only remove the top third of the grass blades. You guessed it — removing more causes stress.

Plus, taller grass plants develop deeper roots, and that makes them more drought-tolerant during the hot, dry summer.  

This Around the Yard segment brought to you by Pavestone.

Simple Solutions

Time-Saving Sanding — When using a portable power sander to smooth the edges of boards, you can save a lot of time by sanding several boards at the same time, a technique known as gang sanding.
Clamp together the boards, making sure the edges are flush and even. Then sand all the edges simultaneously, which not only saves time, but also makes it easy to sand the narrow edges because the sander is supported by a wider surface. 

Rake Screed — Next time you need to smooth out a bed of sand or soil for a garden or patio, save some time and trouble by making a screed from a common garden rake.
Start by getting a 3-foot length of perforated metal strapping, two 2-inch-long machine screws, with washers and wing nuts, and a 4-foot-long pine 1-by-4.
Attach the metal strapping to the 1-by-4 using the machine screws, then slip the tines of the rake behind the strapping.
Tighten the wing nuts to securely hold the 1-by-4 to the rake. Now, use the rake to pull and smooth the sand or soil.
It’s also handy for smoothing gravel, bark mulch, compost, and even freshly poured concrete.

Question of the Week

Q: Eileen in Maryland says, “I have a 40-year-old rancher with a basement. The chimney, which was put in after the house was built, is separating from the house and I’m not sure what to do.

“I have had various workers come out to look at it and all have given different advice. The chimney, at one time, was used for a wood stove in the basement that hasn’t been used in years.

“Should I:

1. Have it repaired
2. Tear it down
3. Or rebuild it?”

A: This chimney is no longer in use, and it’s a major hazard. So hire a contractor and pull it down.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More