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CONTENTS:

Featured Products

Panel Products

Flooring

Asphalt Roofing

Curve Appeal

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.

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Style Solutions, 800/446-3040, www.stylesolutions.com.

Quick Stick

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.

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Loctite, 800/321-0253, www.loctiteproducts.com.

Shingle Style

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.

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Alcoa, 800/962-6973, www.alcoahomes.com.

Dimmable CF

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.

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Technical Consumer Products, 800/324-1496, www.tcpi.com.

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 profiles.

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A-Tech, 866/278-7790, www.sidingmaster.com.

Low Clearance

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.

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Shaper Lighting, 510/234-2370, www.shaperlighting.com.


Panel Products

Plywood Is Good.

This year's 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.

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Georgia Pacific, 800/284-5347, www.gpplywood.com.

Mold-Free OSB.

With insurance 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.

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Potlatch, 800/750-3850, www.oxspecialties.com.

Better Subfloor.

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.

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Weyerhaeuser, 800/525-5440, www.weyerhaeuser.com.

Medium-Density Formica.

MDF is 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.

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Sierra Pine, 800/676-3339, www.sierrapine.com.