Improved Liner Panel
USG's Sheetrock Gypsum Liner Panels have a mold-resistant blue
face and back paper that resists damage from wetting better
than previous versions, according to the manufacturer. The
1-inch-thick panels are made primarily for area-separation
walls and are manufactured in 24-inch widths in lengths from 8
to 12 feet. The maker claims that the liner panels perform
similarly to fiberglass-faced panels but without the skin
irritation. The liner panels sell for about 50¢ per
With summer upon us, it's tough to think about ice damming,
but now is the prime season for correcting problem roofs.
Hotshingle Heating Elements use a thin, copper heating element
to melt accumulated snow and ice before damming can occur,
according to the manufacturer. The 40-watt electric elements
adhere to the back of any standard architectural shingle.
They're wired together with snap connectors and controlled by a
timer or temperature sensor. The manufacturer says that a
3,000-square-foot home requires fewer than three squares, with
installation and materials running about $2,000 per
Aluminum Screeds from Marshalltown are made from a premium
alloy that's durable and warp resistant, according to the
manufacturer. The screeds are available in lengths from 6 to 24
feet long. The ends are capped to make cleanup easier and
prevent concrete buildup. Prices start at $37.
Bamboo flooring has grown steadily in popularity since its
introduction about ten years ago. The durable material is
harvested every six years, and advocates say it's among the
most environmentally responsible of floor coverings. Timber
Grass, one of the industry pioneers, recently introduced the
TimberClick Floating Floor. The 8 1/4 x 86 x 5/8-inch planks
are snapped together, simplifying installation. Prefinished
with a water-based, six-coat finish, the planks have a 25-year
residential finish warranty and a 5-year commercial warranty.
According to the manufacturer, the floating bamboo flooring can
be installed over radiant heat and over a basement living
space. It sells for about $5.25 per square foot.
With its flat-topped pergola roof and lattice walls, the
Fairfield Arbor could easily be mistaken for a painted-wood
arbor. In fact, it's all vinyl and impervious to rot and
insects. According to the maker, the vinyl formulation is high
in titanium dioxide and won't yellow with age. It can be
painted if desired. The arbor costs about $500.
New England Arbors
Customers looking for a long-lasting deck that's not made of
plastic might consider Meridian. The prestained decking and
railing components are made from Shorea maxwelliana, a clear
tropical hardwood that looks a lot like teak. All components
are prestained with Exotic Hardwood Penofin, and the
distributor claims that the decking and accessories are
suitable for coastal areas and other harsh environments. Prices
start at $3.50 per square foot for the 1x4 decking.
Princeton Forest Products
Go-Anywhere Water Heater
Gas water heaters require a flue, which limits where they can
be installed. But direct-vent units, like Rheem's PowerVent 2,
can be vented horizontally through an exterior wall up to 75
feet away with inexpensive, 3-inch plastic pipe. The water
heater's on-board diagnostics alert installers and service
techs to problems. The PowerVent 2 is available in 40- and
50-gallon sizes and meets the low-nitrous-oxides (Nox) emission
requirements of Texas and California. It costs about 30% more
than an atmospherically vented water heater.
Better Pipe Strapping
Easier to install and more flexible than conventional metal
pipe strapping, polypropylene Duct Master Support Strap has 450
pounds of tensile strength. The flexible webbing passes the UL
732 burn test for flame spread and smoke development and can be
cut with scissors. A 100-yard roll, available in silver and
black, sells for $12.50.
Promising unsurpassed comfort and durability, Klein's new line
of stylish, wraparound Protective Eyewear give users a choice
of temple lengths and protective coatings. UV,
scratch-resistant, and antifog coatings are offered in three
frame styles. The maker promises better performance and fewer
scratches compared to competitors' products. List prices range
from $7.50 to $11.55.
Laundry Tub With a Twist
Although it looks similar to an ordinary deep-basin sink, the
SinkSpa Jetted Sink is actually a spa tub for clothing. Using
three water jets, it creates a gentle swirling motion for
effective cleaning of delicate garments automatically, without
hand washing. Designed to fit in a 36-inch sink-base cabinet,
the SinkSpa uses a ten-minute timer and a three-speed pump for
operation. It requires a dedicated GFCI receptacle. Available
in white and "biscuit," it costs around $600.
Hiding cleanouts or septic vent pipes in a residential
landscape can be challenging. But Topp Industries' Plastic
Landscape Rocks can hide just about anything, except maybe a
real boulder. The hollow rocks have a 9 1/2-inch opening at the
bottom that can be enlarged up to 18 inches in the field. A
built-in weight tray filled with soil, gravel, or concrete
prevents movement. Rocks are available in three sizes, ranging
from 17 to 36 inches tall, and prices start at $65 list.
Glue for CMUs
OSI's Low-VOC Landscape Block Adhesive is designed to prevent
cap blocks in masonry retaining walls from shifting when a
homeowner is mowing the grass or landscaping. The adhesive can
also be used to secure brick, slate, stone, wood, and metal.
Available in 10-ounce cartridges, it has a wax-coated tube and
a rust-resistant top cap that prevents damage from wet weather.
A tube costs about $3.
On the Job: Chimney
Chimney pots have been enjoying a tremendous resurgence in
popularity. Although the added height created by a chimney pot
is a cost-effective way to improve draft, most are purchased
simply as a good-looking architectural element. Because they
are relatively inexpensive, come in a wide variety of shapes
and sizes, and are easy to install, builders and remodelers are
using them to spruce up plain brick chimneys. Stock chimney
pots are available in sizes from 18 inches to over 6 feet, in
styles ranging from simple cannon barrels to custom pots that
look like castle turrets or smoke-breathing dragons. Installing
a chimney pot takes only a couple of hours, but it often gives
a home a completely different look.
Before the pot is carried up to the
mesh is cut to size and secured to the top of the chimney pot
with silicone. The mesh acts as a spark arrester and keeps out
animals and debris.
Water trapped between the chimney liner
and the chimney pot can freeze, cracking the clay pot or the
liner. Removing any flue tile that extends above the top of the
chimney with a circular saw or grinder equipped with an
abrasive or diamond blade prevents damage.
The pot is pushed firmly into a 3-inch
mortar bed, ensuring a good bond. Sloping the mortar away from
the pot prevents ice and resulting cracks. Chimney pots and
mortar should be inspected for cracks whenever the chimney is
swept or every ten years.
Chimney Pot Shop