Home project savings, including DIY projects for inside and outside

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - This is the time of year, many homeowners transition from garden work, to DIY projects, inside and outside.  If you're building your own fire pit, or putting in pavers, there's a new product that could cut down on  preparation time.  It’s the Polypropylene Paver Base Panel.  It may be hard to say, but it's actually very easy to use.

"This can replace digging down half a foot, and pouring in all that base material.  With this one, you skim about 2 inches off the surface, put the thick pieces of plastic down, spread your sand on top of it, set your blocks down, then level it and fill in your cracks," said Richard Fletcher, Associate Home Depot Carmel.

Be sure to fill in the cracks between the pavers with regular sand, not the type that hardens, to allow some movement.  Home Depot also has a booklet with step by step instructions for a variety of projects.  Almost any project you do requires good preparation and that includes painting.  Before priming and possibly taping, there's cleaning.  Many people forget it.

"Just put a bit of dishwashing soap in a bucket of water.  Then take a sponge mop to clean your walls.  The mop doesn't need to be soaking wet.  You just want to make sure you get all those oils off the wall, so the paint will stick and so grease won't bleed through.  Then just let it air dry and you're ready to go paint," said Fletcher.

If your DIY project involves shopping for new appliances, here's how to make the most of your money.  Read the labels and compare.  It's not that complicated and Energy Star products are key.  Here's an example of label reading for water heaters.

"What you want to look for is what's your 'recovery time' on the number of gallons in the first hour, then what's the energy usage with it.  You compare your energy usage, and you get the absolute best value.  It's all written on the label," said Fletcher.

And by far the best value for lighting is LED.  Price has come down a lot, if you're thinking about changing out the bulbs in your home.  They are still more expensive up front, but the energy savings alone will pay for the bulbs in a year or two.  That's because LED's use on average only 10 percent the power of incandescent bulbs, at the same brightness.  They also last for decades.