Curved entries, turrets, and barrel-vaulted ceilings, once
reserved for mansions and banks, are increasingly popular in
mainstream American homes. All such details require moldings
that can take to the curves, and Style Solutions' new flexible
urethane moldings are dimensionally stable and arrive
preprimed. The line includes crown, casing, chair rail, and
base. According to the manufacturer, the moldings have enough
flex to make compound curves, as in spiral stairs. Prices start
at about $2 per foot. Most casings run about $8 per foot.
Style Solutions, 800/446-3040,
While fighting with a new tub surround, I quickly realized the
value of construction adhesives with faster grab. Loctite,
better known for its thread-locking compound, has introduced
Power Grab, a product it claims has the highest initial tack of
any construction adhesive. The latex-based product is suitable
for plastics and foam, and it doesn't require the "flash off"
of solvent-based adhesives. Power Grab is available in a
10-ounce tube ($2.79) or a pressurized self-dispensing canister
($6). Motivated by a TV ad that shows a man gluing his
neighbor's hammer to the ceiling without clamping or taping, I
had to give it a try. It actually works.
Decorative shingles are a great way to jazz up a home's
exterior, but most homeowners aren't willing to drag out the
extension ladder and paint them every few years. If your
customer wants a traditional cedar-shingle look in an
easy-maintenance product, you could suggest Mastic's Cedar
Discovery Decorative Half-Round Shingles. The polypropylene
shingles are available in several colors and require no
maintenance. According to the manufacturer, a heavier nail hem
and .080 thickness allow the shingles to sustain winds of up to
180 mph, making them suitable for high-wind locations. Prices
run about $245 per square.
Compact fluorescents use less energy and last longer than
incandescent bulbs, but until recently, dimming them meant
expensive ballasts and special switches. TCP's Dimmable Compact
Fluorescent is the easy solution. The best part is that the
bulb's internal circuitry works with conventional $10
incandescent dimmers. According to the manufacturer, the bulbs
can be dimmed to 20% of their maximum light level without
flickering. Bulbs are said to last about 10,000 hours, and they
cost about $18.
Technical Consumer Products, 800/324-1496,
Straighten Up and Lie Right
Vinyl siding doesn't seem like it should be hard to install
correctly, but there are a lot of bad vinyl jobs out there. The
waves and ripples typical of bad vinyl are usually from nails
that were driven too tight or missed the center of the nailing
slot. Siding Master is supposed to eliminate those problems and
speed installation as well. The metal straps are fastened to
the sheathing and hold the siding with little metal fingers
bent around the nailing fin — no nails required.
According to the maker, the product can cut installation time
in half. The product is available for most common siding
A-Tech, 866/278-7790, www.sidingmaster.com.
If low headroom makes typical hanging ceiling fixtures a
problem, Shaper's Recessed Pendant might be a good solution.
The recessed fixture uses a specification-grade housing with an
adjustable pendant that hangs down about 81/2 inches. According
to the manufacturer, it's 30% more efficient than competitors'
products, and it is available in brass, copper, and painted
finishes. Two compact fluorescent bulbs provide illumination.
It has a list price of $500 to $600.
Shaper Lighting, 510/234-2370,
Plywood Is Good.
rain-soaked spring and summer have created many problems for
builders, not the least of which is the swelling of OSB
subfloors. Besides making customers nervous, it can cause
problems with the installation of finish flooring. According to
GP, you can avoid those problems by using
water-repellent-treated GP Plus Plywood Sturd-I-Floor subfloor.
The panels are available in nominal 5/8- and 3/4-inch
thicknesses. The manufacturer claims that the coating prevents
swelling and delaminating and won't interfere with adhesion of
glue-down floor coverings.
Georgia Pacific, 800/284-5347,
companies paying out more than $1 billion in mold claims last
year, it's not surprising that panel producers are launching
products specifically designed to resist mold growth.
Potlatch's OXTerminator is treated with what the manufacturer
calls a "copper complex" formula that is said to resist not
only mold and fungal growth but termites as well. The panels
are also said to absorb less water than conventional untreated
OSB, according to the manufacturer. Prices run about $4 to $8
more per sheet than for regular OSB.
The home building
industry is notoriously slow to adopt new products, but when
Huber introduced Advantech subflooring several years ago,
builders lined up to get it. They desperately wanted a subfloor
that wouldn't swell like OSB or warp and delaminate like
plywood. Now other manufacturers are climbing on board with
their versions of high-performance OSB subfloor. Weyerhaeuser
guarantees its Structurwood Gold not to swell, delaminate, or
warp, and the edge-sanded panels are said to go together easily
— without a sledgehammer.
great for many things but doesn't generally hold up very well
when it gets wet. Medex from Sierra Pine may be the notable
exception. According to the manufacturer, a special glue and
manufacturing process prevents it from swelling or falling
apart when wet. However, while it can be used for countertops
and bathroom cabinets without worry, the manufacturer cautions
against using the product for exterior applications. As an
added benefit, the product contains no formaldehyde, so it has
less impact on indoor air quality.
Sierra Pine, 800/676-3339,