Managing a 12-foot piece of fiber-cement siding by yourself isn't the easiest task, so most installation crews rely on a cut man and a pair of installers. However, the Bear Clip's inventor — a longtime fiber-cement installer — says that his product allows one installer to do the work of two, reducing labor costs by as much as 40 percent. Not only do these small S-shaped plastic hooks hold the siding in position, they also create the correct lap without measuring. Once the siding is nailed off, the visible part of the hook is broken off with a special tool. By creating a small gap between laps, the remaining part of the clip improves ventilation and drainage behind the siding, says the maker. Clips are available for all major brands of fiber-cement siding; they sell for about $160 per 1,000. Bear Clip, 866/360-2547, www.bearclip.com

Many deck lights are cheaply made, with steel and aluminum housings that weren't designed for the new formulas of pressure-treated lumber. Highpoint Deck Lighting, a new company founded by a custom-deck builder, is improving quality and increasing the number of options in this category of lighting. The surface-mounted, recessed, and post-cap...

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