We're constantly on the lookout for building products that can save time, improve work quality, and increase profitability. No doubt you are, too. But we have an advantage: a mailbox permanently packed with press releases from manufacturers eager to tout the benefits of their merchandise. While many products don't live up to the hype, others strike us as genuinely useful. Here's a roundup of products and tools that we think might help you run a better business.
As always, let us know what you think. If you give any of the items on these pages a try, tell us about your experience. And if you have your own favorite product picks, we'd like to hear what they are.
FRAMING & STRUCTURE
If spending hours — or days — tying off a grid of rebar doesn't sound like a lot of fun to you, check out Kodi Klips. Invented by general contractor John Kodi, the plastic clips quickly and easily connect parallel and intersecting rebar. They're color-coded to work with bar sizes from #3 to #6 and with combinations of #3 and #4, #4 and #5, and #5 and #6 bars. A 95-count box of #4 clips sells for about $15. Kodi Klip, 615/449-1880, www.kodiklip.com
If you're building a deck over a flat or gently sloping roof, Bison's deck supports may be just the ticket. Available in several styles with capacities from 500 to 1,250 pounds, the polypropylene supports adjust from 1/2 inch to 16 inches. The maker claims they're ideal for decks constructed over sloping or undulating concrete, too. You can even use them over compacted soil, the company says. Prices range from $3 to $4 per square foot. Bison Deck Supports, 888/412-4766, www.bisondecksupports.com
One of the largely unforeseen consequences of modern pressure-treated formulas has been the accelerated corrosion of galvanized fasteners; hardware manufacturers and timber-treaters now recommend using stainless hardware with PT wood. However, the "micronized" copper preservative formula in ProWood Micro Treated Lumber is less corrosive, says the maker, making galvanized fasteners acceptable. According to the company, costs are comparable to those of standard PT lumber. Universal Forest Products, 800/598-9663, www.prowoodmicro.com
Hug the Curves
Building a curved wall for the first time makes it painfully obvious why most walls are straight. Luckily, a new product from Flex-Ability Concepts makes building nonload-bearing curved walls and soffits much easier. The Quick Qurve Plate — which is made from biscuit-shaped chunks of OSB — has a minimum outside radius of 12 inches. A box containing two 12-foot plates sells for $110. Flex-Ability Concepts, 405/996-5343, www.flexabilityconcepts.com