Savvy builders have long known that siding installed in a rain-screen fashion is one of the secrets to a low-maintenance, long-lasting home. Conventional rain screens, however, take a lot of time and require some creative detailing — which is why DuPont and several other manufacturers have introduced housewraps with vertical channels that drain moisture without the complicated details of conventional rain screens. DuPont says its Tyvek DrainWrap works with most siding products, including wood, fiber cement, EIFS, and one-coat synthetic stucco. A 9-by-125-foot roll sells for $130 to $160. DuPont, 800/448-9835, www.construction.tyvek.com

Many deck screws are described as self-drilling, but Starborn's Headcote and Deckfast Razorback Stainless Steel Screws are in a class of their own. The manufacturer claims, and my own test confirms, that these screws have threads and an auger point so sharp they'll go into hardwood decking — even ipé — without predrilling. Made from 305...

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