Paints & Other Coatings
When your company has been around long enough to have made
cannon balls for Napoleon, you probably know a little about
metallurgy. De Dietrich Residential Cast-Iron Boilers are less
susceptible to the problems associated with pitting, corrosion,
and thermal shock. The units can handle return water
temperatures as low as 105°F without a tempering valve. The
secret is an exceptionally fine-grained "eutectic" cast iron in
the exchanger. According to the manufacturer, the good-looking
boiler is favored by style-conscious Europeans because their
small homes frequently require placing the heating plant in the
kitchen, where it's always on display. De Dietrich boilers
start at about $1,000, minus the burner.
Macna/De Dietrich, 866/420-3989,
Do your customers ever ask for low-maintenance gutters?
LeafGuard might be the answer. The one-piece seamless gutter
system is roll-formed on site and installed by trained
franchisees. According to the manufacturer, the one-piece
design provides the best protection from leaves and other
debris. With the magic of surface tension, water follows the
nonperforated cover into the gutter's interior, allowing
gutter-clogging debris to fall to the ground. Hangers spaced
every 24 inches and aluminum that's 20% thicker than the
aluminum used in most gutters prevent sagging and damage from
ladders. The manufacturer promises that if the gutter or
downspout ever becomes clogged, they'll fix it for free. The
system is available in 12 colors.
Englert LeafGuard, 800/532-3482,
Epoxies are great for strong connections, but unless you're
building an office tower or warehouse, common two-tube
dispensing systems generally contain too much material. For
smaller-scale structural connections, Powers suggests its new
Quick-Shot, a 10-ounce version of its Power-Fast and AC100 Plus
epoxies. The single-use cartridge fits in a standard caulking
gun and provides about 18 cubic inches of adhesive. The AC100
formula sells for about $13.50; Power-Fast sells for about
Powers Fasteners, 800/524-3244,
Good installers always put a service disconnect near the
outside air-conditioning unit anyway, so why not include a
receptacle inside the disconnect's metal enclosure? Cooper
Bussman's B222-60NFGF has an internal GFCI-protected outlet
that makes servicing AC units easier, besides providing a
convenient spot to plug in the leaf blower or string trimmer.
According to the manufacturer, the nonfused 60-amp disconnect
has plenty of space inside, so it's easy to wire.
Cooper Bussman, 636/527-3877,
Attaching structural insulated panels calls for a fastener
that can go the distance. Long-Length Screws are similar to
self-drilling structural screws but with a smaller wire size,
usually in the #8 to #14 range. Countersinking heads and
self-drilling points make them perfect for driving into hard,
dense materials without predrilling. Available up to 12 inches
long, they're also ideal for landscape ties or furring with
thick material. Zinc coatings and stainless steel are available
for exterior use.
Screw Products Inc., 877/844-8880,
customer is looking for an affordable and effective way to
improve indoor air quality, you might consider the exhaust-only
Occupant-Sensing Ventilation System from Resource Conservation
Technology. The system uses a continuously running,
remote-mounted exhaust fan combined with unique louvered
grilles to remove indoor air pollutants. What's cool is that
the grilles allow about 4 cfm of air to pass through at all
times, but when the motion or humidity sensors are triggered,
the louver opens fully, allowing up to 50 cfm of air flow.
Grilles are offered in humidity-sensing ($68), motion-sensing
($76), humidity- and motion-sensing ($108), and switched
varieties ($76). Humidity-sensing grilles don't require a power
source, while motion-sensing units rely on a transformer or a
9-volt battery that the maker says should last a year or two.
Switched grilles are typically used in rooms where humidity
levels remain low but odors could be a problem. The remote fan
is rated at about 140 cfm and sells for about $300.
Resource Conservation Technology,
Moving exhaust fans to
an unoccupied space like the attic or basement has a lot of
advantages, like reduced noise and easier servicing. It also
allows the installation of additional ducts with minimal effort
and expense. While Panasonic has made quality ceiling-mounted
bath fans for many years, the manufacturer recently introduced
WhisperLine Remote-Mounted In-line Fans. The company claims
that the remote fans have the same attributes that made
previous Panasonic fans builder and consumer favorites,
including insulated housings that reduce noise and prevent
condensation and energy-efficient motors rated for continuous
operation. The WhisperLine series is available in sizes from
120 to 440 cfm. I found it on the Net starting at $135.
Moving in the Right Direction.
Installing huge range hoods and other high-powered exhaust fans
can prevent combustion-appliance flue gases from making it up
the chimney. If the flue gases from your customer's water
heater, boiler, or furnace need some incentive to get going,
you could have your plumber or heating contractor install an
In-line Draft Inducer. This self-contained fan installs in a
section of flue pipe and gets gas moving in the right
direction. Prover switches mounted on the unit confirm that the
fan is working before the gas valve is opened or the burner is
fired. Prices start at $150 for the inducer and $270 for the
prover switch and controller.
Clever Fan Controller.
fans have become the mainstay of most cost-conscious
ventilation systems, but occupant-controlled switches are
generally the weak link in what could otherwise be an effective
strategy. Fortunately, improving your customer's ventilation
system can be as easy as installing an Airetrak Switch from
Tamarack Technologies. The programmable switch runs the bath
fan for 12 or 24 hours a day at full capacity or energy-saving
reduced speed, creating a whole-house ventilation system. A
push-button-activated, 20-minute boost cycle can be used for
clearing odors and showering. The solid-state controller is
easy to program, and it has a lithium battery that maintains
settings during power outages. The Airetrak is rated for fans
up to 180 watts and uses standard switch plates. It lists for
Tamarack Technologies, 800/222-5932,
If your customer is
looking for something with a little more class than the typical
polished brass home-center doorknob, you might suggest one of
the offerings from Italian hardware maker Valli & Valli.
The Chipperfield shown here is one of the sleeker designs,
featuring a one-piece handle flowing from the escutcheon.
Matching window handles and other hardware pieces are also
available. Prices start at $216 for a passage set.
Valli & Valli, 877/326-2565,
Quick and Easy Installation.
Holding both sides of a doorknob while you crane your neck to
line up the assembly screws is one job-site acrobatic act that
you can eliminate. The new Kwik Install Assembly System uses
captured assembly screws and one-way alignment plates that make
installation easier. According to the maker, the new method
eliminates many of the dings, scratches, and stripped screws
that resulted from previous installation methods. You can find
this system in Kwikset's UltraMax Security line of
While the $12
locksets on your new spec home might work fine for their
intended purpose, the tinny quality and cheap finish won't send
a good message to more upscale buyers. If you want potential
buyers to notice that you care more about quality than saving a
few bucks, Emtek locksets have a much better feel and finish
for only a little more money — it's the kind of touch
that could put your new home ahead of the competition. Unlike
many other upgrades, they install easily. Emtek's product line
includes entry sets, interior knobs, lever sets, and cabinet
pulls. Knob-set list prices start at $56; entry sets start at
No-Cut Pocket Lock.
Many of the
pocket door locksets I've seen require a big notch cut into the
door's edge. If you're worried that cutting into the door could
compromise its strength (or the warranty), you could use the
Pocket Door Lock from Johnson. Instead of a notch, this lock
uses a standard 2 1/8-inch-diameter bore with a 2 3/8-inch back
set, so you can have the door prebored for easy installation
without a jigsaw. Available in bright brass, antique brass, and
satin chrome finishes, it sells for about $15.
L.E. Johnson, 800/837-5664,
Paints & Other
Paint for Plastic.
painting plastic with spray paint might sound like a recipe for
disaster, the manufacturer claims that Fusion Spray Paint by
Krylon will adhere to most plastics without priming. According
to the manufacturer, it works with ABS, PVC, polypropylene,
polyethylene, fiberglass, and rubber. It's available in 32
colors, including several satin and metallic finishes. It sure
seems like a great way to match the plumbing vents to the roof.
Depending on the color, it sells for about $4 to $5 per
Tired of Touch-Ups?
remodelers love how flat latex paint hides everything, but
homeowners are often disappointed when they try to scrub away
scuffs and marks. If you're looking for a flat paint that
cleans up better, try the new ColorAccents Interior Latex Flat
from Sherwin-Williams. According to the manufacturer, the new
formula maintains a flat sheen but has a much greater
resistance to scuffs and marring. It should also be welcome
news to builders and remodelers tired of touch-ups and
repaints. It has a suggested list price of $33 per
Caulk of Any Color.
If you've ever
had to deal with trying to match your caulking to your
customer's bold color choices, you know how tough it can be to
find caulking in "raspberry" or "mint julep." Red Devil has
introduced Create-A-Color Caulk Mixer, so you can make caulk of
just about any color. You add a few ounces of paint to the tube
and use the special tool to mix it in. There are two versions
of the mixing tool, an aluminum pro-grade model ($100) and the
standard plastic one ($30). I saw the mixing process and the
caulk (wet and dry) at last year's International Hardware Show,
and it looked legit. The manufacturer says Create-A-Color can
be used for both interior and exterior applications. It sells
for about $6.
Red Devil, 800/423-3845,
Mold-Stopping Multisurface Coating.
With mold still
grabbing headlines across the country, builders and remodelers
are frequently left wondering how to protect themselves and
their clients when they find mold during a project. While it's
not a quick fix for bad flashing or missing weather barriers,
you can frequently prevent the recurrence of mold with products
like Sentinel's 24.7 Multisurface Coating. The maker claims
that the product is easy to apply, cleans up with soap and
water, and can be used on surfaces from ductwork to drywall. A
five-gallon pail sells for about $325.