Glues & Adhesives
It's tough to know what future technology will bring, but you
can at least make sure your customer's home is ready for future
wiring upgrades. WireTracks CM is a plastic channel that works
in conjunction with conventional crown molding to provide a
great space for running communication and other low-voltage
cable. The channel includes brackets that screw to the back
side of the crown, so you can remove the molding from the wall
when it's time for adding wires. According to the manufacturer,
the product works with any common spring angle and crowns as
small as 3 inches wide. The company also makes a similar
product for baseboard. Adding WireTracks CM to a 12x12-foot
room should run about $70, not including the crown.
Protecting glass and windows during construction should be
easier with a new protective coating from Cortec. Sprayed,
brushed, or rolled onto windows and other non-porous surfaces,
MCI Peel-Off Coating creates a film to prevent scratches,
nicks, and overspray. According to the maker, the VOC-compliant
clear film allows inspection of the surface and peels off in
large sheets at the end of the job without leaving a residue. A
five-gallon pail sells for $296.
Keeping construction drawings and other important documents
free from spilled coffee, mud, and weather is a constant
battle. But clear protective sleeves from Easi File can help.
Made from 4-mil plastic, Pro-One transparent envelopes will
hold a single sheet or a "whole set of plans." Not only will
your plans still be readable at the end of the job, you'll look
more professional to your clients than the dog-eared
competition. Ten-packs of the 24x36-inch size (part number EFB
24/38) sell for $34. Ten-packs of the 30x42-inch size (part
number EFB 34/44) sell for $49.
Easi File, 800/800-5563,
Glues & Adhesives
When you think
all hope is lost and replacement is the only option for your
broken item, you might try J-B Weld. The two-part epoxy has the
consistency of putty and is legendary for fixing things that
are supposedly unfixable. I know an innkeeper who used it for
repairing his commercial dishwasher. The vintage machine's
washer arm had broken in half and replacement parts were
unavailable. While his original intent was a temporary fix, the
adhesive is still working three years later. It's available in
most hardware and auto parts stores and sells for about
J-B Weld, 800/529-3530.
Struggling to get the last inch of yellow
glue out of a typical drippy glue bottle is something most
carpenters and cabinetmakers would happily give up. If you're
among them, you might check out the Glü-Bot. The plastic
bottle comes in 4- and 16-ounce sizes and features a unique
nozzle that dispenses glue from the bottom of the bottle
instead of the top. According to the manufacturer, the design
makes glue application easier and prevents clogged nozzles.
Additional features include a widemouthed lid for easier
refills and two different tips. The large size sells for $6,
and the small size sells for $4.
Besides death and
taxes, one of the other certainties of life is that glues need
time to dry. You'll probably want to put off the first two as
long as possible, but a quicker bond when installing trim is
often an advantage. FastCap's 2P-10 adhesive system includes an
activator that makes nearly instant bonds on trim and other
porous materials. What's cool about this product compared with
others like it: It's available in thick or gel consistencies
that make application easier when you're working on vertical or
overhead surfaces. A starter kit that includes both medium and
thick glue formulas, an activator, and a debonder sells for
Safer Contact Cement.
vapors associated with traditional formulations of contact
cement are not only bad for your health, they're extremely
dangerous around pilot lights and other open flames.
Unfortunately, safer substitutes haven't received a great deal
of professional acceptance because of sacrifices in
performance. But according to the maker, water-based Titebond
Neoprene Plus contact cement performs as well as solvent-based
contact cement without the toxicity or flammability problems.
It sells for about $15 per quart.
Franklin International, 800/877-4583,
Clean-Air Construction Adhesive.
Polyurethane wood glue and sealants have revolutionized
residential construction because of their tenacious hold and
good flexibility. These same qualities should make Chem-Calk an
excellent construction adhesive. According to the maker, the
high-solids adhesive works in temperatures down to 10°F
and adheres to wet and frozen lumber. In addition, it's
California VOC compliant. I was quoted $5.95 for a 29-ounce
tube by a stocking dealer in Western Pennsylvania.
Bostik Findley, 888/603-8558,
reinstalling a concrete or clay roof tile doesn't have to be a
big deal. RT-600 adhesive from OSI attaches tiles to both wood
and mortar substrates, and in many cases you won't have to
remove adjacent tiles. According to the manufacturer, the
gun-dispensed adhesive satisfies building-code uplift
requirements when installed on roofs lower than 55 feet above
grade. A 10-ounce tube sells for about $2.50.
OSI Sealants, 888/445-0208,
disguising a basement lally column is one of those perennial
remodeling problems. There are perhaps hundreds of ways to hide
an ugly column, but if you're looking for a fast and easy
method, you should check out the Pole-Wrap. The product —
made from 1/2-inch-thick oak strips and a flexible backing
— wraps around the pole and attaches with construction
adhesive. The material comes in 12- and 16-inch by 8-foot
strips and 4- by 8-foot sheets. A 12-inch by 8-foot Pole-Wrap
will cover a 3 1/2-inch lally column and sells for about
You can disguise
a lally column with decorative wood or drywall, but even the
best-looking lally column won't prevent injuries when the kids
run into it. If you're improving a basement play space, you
might consider installing the Lolly Wrap. The padded cover uses
two layers of cushioning nylon bubble wrap, protected by a
washable plastic outer layer. The kit will cover one 8-foot
column up to 5 inches in diameter, and the manufacturer claims
it can be installed in five minutes. You can also use the Lolly
Wrap in garages, on basketball hoops, and on swing sets. It
sells for $40.
Lolly Wrap, 888/565-5997,
Window wells are
often the only way of getting a little natural light and
ventilation into an otherwise dark basement, but uncovered
window wells can become a handy receptacle for leaves, toys,
and roof water. If you don't want a plastic bubble from the
home center (who does?), you could check out the Polycarbonate
Window Well Covers from Lustercraft. Offered in 12 standard
sizes, the covers feature a 3/12 roof pitch and a rust-proof
aluminum frame. Egress versions can be equipped with optional
aluminum ladders and feature interior locks and prop rods. A
34x44-inch egress version sells for $438 on the company
website. Custom sizes are also available.
Hardwood Column Cover.
I've seen a
lot of different ways to hide or cover basement lally columns,
but I think this is among the easiest and best-looking
ready-made options. Pacific Columns' Lally Column Covers use
biscuits for easy assembly of the two halves and include trim
for the top and bottom. Spacers included with the kit make a
tight fit on both 3- and 4-inch columns, and the manufacturer
even provides zip ties for clamping the two pieces together
while the glue dries. Stain-grade maple and cherry column
covers sell for $120 each; oak sells for $115. Paint-grade
columns sell for $96.
Pacific Columns, 800/294-1098,
are standard fare for basement living space, but an expansive
grid of white tiles can look a little boring. If you or your
customer is looking for something with more pizzazz, you might
consider pressed tin. M-Boss makes a line of drop-in tin
ceilings that offer the same advantages of conventional drop
ceilings but without the homogeneous, institutional look. The
2x2-foot panels are meant to be painted, but the company also
offers ten factory finishes from traditional "white" and
"polished copper" to "sky tones" and "sage." The ceiling shown
runs about $8.50 per panel in a mill finish; the white painted
version runs about $12.50.