Window to Go.
Even if your clients aren't planning to finish the basement in their new home right away, it makes sense to consider a ScapeView Series 6000 egress window before the foundation goes in. The two-piece assembly includes a pour-in-place buck and a snap-in window unit. The buck comes in four standard widths and has tie slots for securing it to the formwork. The fully welded window unit meets egress requirements and includes a screen and heavy-duty lock. A 4'x4' window (for an 8-inch-thick wall) with a matching two-tier escape well lists at $1,137. Bilco, 203/934-6363, www.bilco.com
High and Dry.
Most appliance-store dehumidifiers aren't up to the challenge of a basement environment because they aren't recommended for temperatures below 65°F. However, high-
efficiency Santa Fe dehumidifiers operate in temperatures as low as 55°F; at 60°F they can remove 60 pints of water per day, which is about twice the capacity of most dehumidifiers. Optional duct kits allow units to be installed in mechanical spaces outside living areas. I found a Santa Fe dehumidifier on the Web for $1,750. Therma-Stor, 800/533-7533, www.thermastor.com
Planning a hardwood floor over a basement slab? Bostik's MVP4 is worth a look. The trowel-applied membrane can reduce vapor transmission, bridge gaps as wide as 1/8 inch, and reduce sound transmission for both engineered and solid hardwood flooring. Although Bostik doesn't provide maximum vapor-transmission rates for the product, the company does say that if the slab is visibly dry (test it with newspaper) and the membrane is installed correctly, water vapor won't cause cupping, gapping, or other moisture problems. I found MVP4 on the Web for $165 per five-gallon pail. Bostik, 800/726-7845, www.bostik-us.com
Brick & Masonry
Properly detailing the bottom of a masonry-veneer wall can prevent all sorts of problems. Unfortunately, getting those details right is no simple task. A new product due on the market this fall from Mortar Net should make a well-built masonry wall easier to achieve. Mortar Flash combines a mesh weep system, flexible flashing, a metal termination bar, and stainless-steel flashing in a 5-foot panel. Pricing has not yet been determined. Mortar Net, 800/664-6638, www.mortarnet.com
In many parts of the country, a shortage of skilled masons is leaving less-skilled individuals to take up the slack. If you want to make working with cultured-stone veneer a little easier for your semiskilled masons, check out Cultured Stone's Electrical Box Stones. They come in two styles: 8 inches by 10 inches for light fixtures, and 6 inches by 8 inches for single receptacles. Both versions include appropriately sized metal extension rings for the electrical box. Prices range from $12 to $17, depending on size and style. Owens Corning, 800/255-1727, www.culturedstone.com
Because large-brick formats can reduce costs by as much as 30 percent, they're replacing traditional sizes in many regions. Much of the savings comes from reduced labor. Take Acme's products: A mason lays only 4.8 of the company's King Size bricks in a square foot — vs. 6.8 of its Modular Size or 5.2 of its Queen Size. Brick-industry experts claim that most people can't tell the difference between large and traditional sizes — except when it comes time to pay the masonry bill. Acme Brick, 817/332-4101, www.brick.com
Hvac Grilles & Registers
Stamped-steel floor registers don't exactly flatter most interior designs — so if you're looking to avoid your customer's raised eyebrows at the end of the project, suggest Acorn's Cast Registers and Grilles. They come in 12 common sizes — from 10 inches by 2 1/4 inches to 12 inches by 6 inches — in louvered and nonlouvered versions. The maker claims that they vastly outclass common floor registers in quality and aesthetics, and look great in a variety of architectural settings, from colonial to modern. Prices range from $24 to $95. Acorn, 800/835-0121, www.acornmfg.com
Ducts in a Row.
It's true that few JLC readers would characterize the projects that typically incorporate Duct Sox as light construction. Still, the advantages that these flexible ducts — which replace spiral-duct and ceiling-mounted diffusers — bring to stores, offices, restaurants, and other large spaces are so significant, they're worth mentioning. According to the maker, Duct Sox — which come in diameters from 6 to 48 inches — tip the scales at a mere fraction of what conventional ductwork weighs; provide superior system balancing; are hygienic (they're washable); and incorporate colors and logos. Best of all, installed costs allegedly run 20 to 30 percent lower than those of conventional ductwork. DuctSox, 866/563-7729, www.ductsox.com
Air With Flair.
Looking for hvac grilles with real pizazz? Cast Aluminum Register Grilles from Liz's Antique Hardware come in three sizes: 5 1/2 inches by 13 1/2 inches ($125), 7 1/2 inches by 13 1/2 inches ($150), and 7 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches ($175). They don't have louvers, so you'll want to include duct-mounted dampers in the hvac design for system balancing. Liz's Antique Hardware, 323/939-4403, www.lahardware.com