A housewrap that promotes drainage
All sidings leak, so the trick to a weatherproof exterior is in creating an airtight drainage plane that protects the structure from wind-driven rain. DuPont recently introduced DrainWrap — a crinkled Tyvek similar to its sister product, StuccoWrap — which creates small channels to drain water away from the back side of siding. The product functions much more like a "rain screen" than a smooth housewrap that hugs the back of flat siding materials. Intended for use behind wood, vinyl, fiber cement, and other board or panel siding, DrainWrap is made of a highly permeable spunbonded olefin, similar to other Tyvek housewraps, which will allow a wall to dry if it does become wet before or after construction. (In general, the more permeable a housewrap, the more likely that moisture in the wall system will escape.) DrainWrap is available in 9- x 125-foot rolls and installs like ordinary housewrap. For more information, contact DuPont, 800-448-9835; www.construction.tyvek.com
Rabbeted corner boards and casings protect siding gaps
Most horizontal siding, including vinyl, fiber cement, and many of the newer engineered wood-fiber materials, must be gapped, not butted tight to trim boards. This means the gap between the siding and any down board — namely, corner boards and window or door casings — must be caulked. However, exposure to the elements (especially to ultraviolet light and high temperatures) breaks down the caulk sealant, making it the weakest link in the exterior. In fact, we feel the goal of a good exterior job is to detail joints so that caulk is never the primary boundary between the weather and the building.
This is what makes the Versatex Stealth Trim particularly appealing. This cellular PVC stock for corner boards and window and door casings comes preformed with 3/4-inch-square channels along the edges to accept just about any siding, allowing the trim to lap over the abutting siding. With vinyl siding, no J-channel is required. The overall result is far more convincing than any formed aluminum materials designed for the same purpose. For more information, contact Wolfpac Technologies, 724-266-7928; www.versatex.com
Decay-resistant window and door parts
Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, Eagle Window, and Imperial Products are among the window and door manufacturers using wood-plastic composites that are impervious to water and resist decay, rot, and insect damage. Made from 100% recycled wood flour and plastic resin, the product line, which includes lineals, jambs, stops, sills, and thresholds, are sold under the company's EverGreen brand, as well as sourced as OEM (original equipment manufacture) parts to a variety of window and door manufacturers. For more information, contact Integrated Composite Technologies, 478-472-1155; www.evergreen-wood.com
New recip saw blades designed to take abuse
Bosch has expanded its line of recip saw blades with its new Demolition Blade line, which the company claims offers the thickest blade body in the industry. At .062 inch, the thicker blades add stability, making for smoother cuts, and durability for longer life. The blades feature alternating sets of two tooth sizes and reinforced teeth, which the maker claims add greater cutting efficiency, for up to 20% faster cutting through metal than competitive blades. One model in the new blade line — Rescue and Demolition blades — even includes a glow-in-the-dark coating on its blades, a feature added, no doubt, to appeal to FEMA rescue teams and others working in low-light conditions.
For more information, contact Bosch Power Tools, 877-267-2499; www.boschtools.com
Critical air stop needed in all coastal climates
A sill seal is standard in cold climates, where the foam gasket provides an essential component of the building enclosure. But such seals are not always seen as very significant in warmer climates, especially over open crawlspaces. As building practices change, however, and as sealed crawlspaces are increasingly becoming common practice in coastal climate zones, the sill seal becomes ever more critical to seal the many small gaps between an uneven foundation wall and the sill plate. Styrofoam Sill Seal Gasket is a simple material to apply for this purpose. The flexible polyethylene strip rolls out effortlessly and is easy to slip over foundation ties. As anchor bolts are tightened, the foam
compresses to stop drafts. For more information, contact The Dow Chemical Co., 866-583-2583; www.dow.com
Flashing extends the life of the structure
While the emphasis is often put on protecting the top decking, which sees the worst of the weather and sun, water also accumulates between deck boards, wicking into the gaps above the joists where it is slow to dry. According to reports from Grace Construction Products, one out of five decks that gets remodeled or replaced involves a failure of the supporting joists and stringers. When applied to the top of deck joists, Grace Construction's Vycor Deck Protector creates an impervious barrier against water and moisture penetration to the most exposed part of the structure. Available in 4-inch widths, the self-adhering membrane includes a skid-resistant coating for safer foot traffic during installation. Made with the same butyl-based adhesive used for Grace Ice & Water Shield, which offers exceptional stability at high temperatures, the flashing material also seals around fasteners to help reduce moisture migrating through the screw punctures. For more information, contact Grace Construction Products, www.graceconstruction.com
Out-swing patio door offers protection from wind-borne debris
Peachtree's StaySafe line of impact-resistant products include new aluminum-clad out-swing patio doors with wood interiors available in pine, oak, mahogany, maple, or cherry. The aluminum cladding not only provides a low-maintenance exterior, but adds structural integrity too. Combined with impact-resistant glass — laminated glazing with a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) film sandwiched between two panes of glass — the StaySafe patio door meets the missile-impact requirements for Miami-Dade County, as well as other coastal building codes. As with most impact-resistant glazing, the PVB interlayer in the glass adds protection from ultraviolet light, resisting furniture and fabric fading. Available glazing options include single-pane units with snap-in wood grilles, or insulated glass units with between-the-glass grilles or simulated divided lights. All StaySafe products are available with a corrosion-resistant hardware package for coastal applications. For more information, contact Peachtree, 800-732-2499; www.peachtreedoor.com
Enhanced vinyl panels weather the storm
According to reports from area siding contractors, CraneBoard held up better than many other siding materials when Hurricane Ivan slammed into the Florida panhandle in 2004, says the manufacturer, Crane Performance Siding. With a wind load rating of up to 130 mph, CraneBoard triple-6 and double-7 panels are reportedly designed to withstand up to 300% more impact than vinyl siding. Each panel features an insulated foam backing that provides the greater impact resistance as well as improved sound deadening and a straighter profile.
Crane Performance Siding offers a complete line of trim accessories that surpass the usual narrow, curved-corner vinyl trim stock. The Crane line includes window crowns, band boards, 51/2-inch-wide corner posts, and fluted lineals, all with tight square edges and integral channels. During Hurricane Ivan, soffit failures were near the top of the list of problems among homes that met the latest Florida Building Code requirements. According to the manufacturer, the Florida Department of Community Affairs reported very little soffit damage on homes with CraneBoard soffit accessories. For more information, contact Crane Performance Siding, 800-366-8472; www.vinyl-siding.com