Lighter and stronger than 30-lb. felt

Grace Tri-Flex 30 is a spunbonded polypropylene sandwiched between layers of UV-stabilized polypropylene that provides a slip-resistant roofing underlayment that won't tear away from nails in high winds, even when left exposed. According to the manufacturer, Tri-Flex can be left exposed for up to six months without drying out or rotting at high temperatures, or cracking and becoming brittle at low temperatures. Weighing only 30 pounds for a large, 10-square roll, Tri-Flex is much lighter than 30-lb. felt, making installation easier. Tri-Flex 30 must be attached to the roof deck with roofing nails or staples through 1-inch-diameter plastic or metal caps. It's critical that the deck surface is swept clean and dry and that the material is pulled taut, but not stretched, when applied. Suitable for both new construction and reroofing, Tri-Flex meets the International Building Code as well as Florida Building Code requirements for roof coverings in high-velocity hurricane zones. For more information, contact Grace Construction Products, 866-333-3726;

36-Volt Power Tools

Reportedly deliver two to three times more run time than 18-volt tools

Following its older sister, Black & Decker, DeWalt has stepped up the power threshold for cordless tools by introducing a line of 36-volt cordless power tools, including a hammerdrill, reciprocating saw, 71/4-inch circular saw, jigsaw, impact wrench, rotary hammer, and flashlight. The tools will be sold in two-, three- and four-piece combo kits.

To create the battery for this 36-volt platform, DeWalt partnered with A123Systems to develop a new generation of lithium-ion batteries using technology licensed from researchers at MIT. The new batteries reportedly offer greater service life, more power, and longer run time than conventional lithium technology. According to DeWalt, independent third-party testing of the new tool line found that the DeWalt 36-volt platform provides two to three times more run time than 18-volt tools. The manufacturer claims the circular saw, for example, is capable of averaging 64 cross cuts through a 2x10, while the hammerdrill can drill an average of 67 holes through 2x material using a 29/16-inch self-feed bit. For more information, contact DeWalt Industrial Tool Co., 800-433-9258;

Drainage-Plane Clips

Clips for installing siding also aid drainage

Fiber-cement siding has become increasingly popular because it is attractive, durable, and low maintenance. It is also heavy and requires extra time and labor to install. Enter the Bear Clip: Invented by a siding installer, who claims his Bear Clips increased his productivity by 40%, the small plastic clips are slipped over the top edge of a lower course of siding, automatically providing a 11/4-inch overlap. The manufacturer recommends three clips for each 12-foot fiber-cement plank. Once the siding courses are nailed off, a clip removal tool (provided with the clips) is used to detach the exposed front portion. The hidden back portion stays in place, providing a small shim that creates an air gap on the back side of the siding, promoting drainage of wind-blown rain and other moisture that will inevitably get behind the siding. For more information, contact Parksite Plunkett-Webster, 800-399-3779;

Bendable Borders

Rot-resistant composite landscape edging

EverGreen Wood Composites offers a line of long-lasting landscaping materials that will neither rot nor suffer insect damage. The wood-plastic composites are available in both a thin, flexible profile designed for edging (EverEdge) and a thick, rigid profile designed to be used as a border timber (Landscape Timber). Both profiles can be used in place of traditional materials such as metal, plastic, or wood, which can deterioriate from rust, rot, or termites. In addition, the composite materials will not leach harmful chemicals or preservatives into homeowners' flowerbeds or gardens. Made from 100% recycled wood flour and plastic resin, EverGreen landscape edging can be tooled like wood and contains no chemical compounds that will accelerate the corrosion of fasteners and flashing. For more information, contact Evergreen Wood Composites/ICT, Inc., 478-472-1155;

Impact-Resistant Glass Block System

Silicone adhesive supplies the strength

Pittsburgh Corning offers a glass block system that meets hurricane impact code requirements for residential and commercial buildings in high-wind zones. Using its Thickset 90 glass blocks, which have a greater face thickness than standard glass blocks, and an innovative silicone adhesive to cement the blocks together, the system achieves a 100-psf design pressure for a 4- by 4-foot window area (or 68 psf design pressure for a 6- by 6-foot area). The adhesive relies on spacers that accurately align the blocks and provide a consistent joint thickness. The high-strength silicone agent used to adhere the block to the spacers comes in a clear version that cures to a clear finish, giving the assembly an all-glass appearance. For more information, contact Pittsburgh Corning Glass Block, 800-624-2120;

Integral Insulation

Foundation forming system automatically provides an R-11 concrete wall

CertainTeed's offering a foundation insulation system to complement its popular Form-A-Drain — an integral footing form and perimeter drainage system. The new system, ThermaEze, uses expanded polystyrene foam panels that are held in foundation wall forms by a web structure that becomes embedded in the concrete. Once the concrete sets, the forms are removed, creating a wall surface that is fully insulated on the interior and/or exterior faces of the structure. The webs also provide a fastening surface for finishing basement walls with drywall and/or siding. For more information, contact CertainTeed Corp., 800-233-8990;

Efficient Bracing

Gypsum-based sheathing installs faster than plywood

Available in 1/2- and 5/8-inch thicknesses, and in 8-, 9-, 10-, and 12-foot lengths, Temple-Inland's StructGuard TS is stiff enough to meet all major model-code structural requirements for racking resistance, yet can be cut with a utility knife. With a rating between 20 and 24 perms, depending on the thickness, it will breathe better than plywood, OSB, or 30-lb. felt. The manufacturer recommends taping the seams with a foil tape, such as Polyken 626-35, and using self-adhesive flashing at window and door openings to limit water infiltration. And, while no one should rely solely on the mold-resistance of an exterior sheathing to prevent mold, in hot, humid regions it's sometimes hard to control the vapor drive, so there is a risk of moisture condensing on wall sheathing surfaces. In such cases, StructGuard TS structural gypsum sheathing might provide an added level of protection: The sheathing has been treated to reduce mold growth. For more information, contact Temple-Inland, 800-231-6060;