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Bent Vent.

What's the best way to vent the top of a shed roof where it meets a vertical wall? It's one of those head-scratching details seldom explained in the plans. Cor-A-Vent's Roof-2-Wall Vent was designed to solve this vexing problem. Suitable for roof pitches of 3/12 and greater, it's sold as a kit containing everything needed to ventilate up to 24 feet of roof: six 4-foot sections of vent, 25 feet of 14-inch flashing, four end caps, and 2 1/2-inch nails. Cor-A-Vent, 800/837-8368,


I'll concede that fixing a roof with tape sounds a little dubious, but I've been assured by two commercial roofers that RoofSeal really works. According to the maker, this tape adheres to most types of roofing, including EDPM, TPO, PVC, coated metal — even concrete, wood, and tile. Available in widths from 2 to 48 inches, it can be installed in temperatures down to -20°F and comes with a 10-year warranty. A 2-inch-wide, 50-foot roll costs about $50. EternaBond, 888/336-2663,

Decent Exposure.

Most roofing underlayments aren't designed for long-term exposure, but Johns Manville claims its DuraBase roofing underlayment can be left exposed for up to six months without sacrificing performance. The company also says the product seals nail holes better than other synthetic underlayments, thanks to its asphalt-and-nonwoven-polyester composition. A four-square roll sells for about $60. Johns Manville, 800/654-3103,


Quit Smoking.

With energy costs on the rise, central wood-fired heating plants are gaining steam. Unfortunately, the short chimneys and low-temperature fires characteristic of traditional wood-fired outdoor boilers can smoke out the neighbors. One notable exception is the Greenwood Hydronic Furnace. According to its maker, this unit — which is installed indoors — approaches 87 percent efficiency and generates a 2,000°F fire that practically eliminates creosote and smoke. It comes in 100,000-, 200,000-, and 300,000-Btu sizes. Prices start at $6,995. Greenwood Technologies, 800/959-9184,

Great Outdoors.

Perhaps to compensate for the increasing number of hours they spend indoors working or boxed up in their cars commuting, Americans are taking to dedicated outdoor living spaces with gusto. With its durable stainless-steel front and firebox, Lennox's Elite Outdoor Gas Fireplace coordinates with other exterior appliances, like monster grills. It has a 60,000-Btu burner and comes in 36- and 42-inch sizes. Prices start at around $2,000. Lennox Hearth Products, 800/953-6669,

Open Source.

Aesthetically, modern gas fireplaces are a lot more appealing than their predecessors, but some homeowners still don't like the sealed glass front on most units. If your customer is among them, you might suggest Heatilator's Reveal B-Vent Gas Fireplace, which features an open front — as well as electronic ignition and a three-tier, 45,000-Btu burner. The fireplace comes in 36- and 42-inch models; prices start at $1,140. Heatilator, 800/927-6841,