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Replacement Windows & Doors

Real-Wood Replacement. Vinyl replacement windows are easy to install and maintain, but they're not right for every project. Replacement wood sash kits with insulating glass are available from several manufacturers and often look more appropriate on older homes. The CrestFit Easy-Tilt Clad Sash Kit from Crestline makes it easy to update old windows while maintaining their period look. Available in custom sizes, the units come in eight clad colors and with eight grille options, including simulated divided lights that help complete the illusion of original fenestration. According to the manufacturer, a 2'-4" x 4'-6" double-hung with standard insulating glass costs $200 to $300. Crestline, 800/444-1090,

Triple Tight. When a replacement window's energy efficiency is the primary concern, consider a triple-glazed unit. Uniframe Maxuus 10 from Great Lakes Window provides up to five times the energy efficiency of standard insulating glass and helps reduce sound transmission. Other energy-efficient features include a foam-filled frame, nonmetallic glass spacers, and a reinforced meeting rail that prevents distortion and the resulting air leakage. Depending on size and options, prices range from $125 to more than $500 each. Great Lakes Window, 800/666-0000,

Quick Fix. Replacing an aluminum patio door in masonry and stucco applications is a tough prospect. You have to remove the old frame, integrate the new unit into the home's drainage plane, and then patch up the exterior. Now, with Milgard's Z-Bar Frame, you can skip all those steps. Designed specifically for masonry and stucco applications, the add-on flange allows you to attach the new door to the existing frame without demolition, and turns a complex and time-consuming job into a half-day project. Milgard, 800/645-4273,

Interior Millwork

Idea Book. So you suspect that your plain-jane trim packages just don't appeal to high-end clients — but you're not sure how to create a cohesive look on your own. Check out Princeton's Simplicity System. This 59-page design book with color photos explains how to use the company's 32 preprimed moldings to create good-looking built-up trim that's easy to execute and doesn't rely on mega-dollar, super-wide profiles. The book is free; the company says its moldings cost about the same as any other high-quality prefinished millwork. Princeton Forest Products, 800/504-8044,

Holey Molding. Outwater's ornately carved Pierced Mouldings make it easy to jazz up an interior trim package, a custom mantel, or a set of built-ins. Available in maple, cherry, and oak in five profiles, the paint- and stain-ready 2-foot-long sections connect via dowels. Prices start at about $20 per foot. Outwater, 800/835-4400,

No-Rot Wainscot. Got a homeowner who's looking for a low-maintenance, moisture-resistant alternative to traditional beaded fir or pine? If so, you might suggest the PermaPorch Ceiling from HB&G. The defect-free 5 1/2-inch-wide by 12-foot-long panels are an especially good choice for wainscoting in cool basements, where humidity and seeping moisture could be a problem. The product line includes matching crown, bed, and lattice molding; according to the maker, the prefinished components never need painting. PermaPorch panels list for $27 each. HB&G, 800/264-4424,

Slate & Tile Roofing

Choice Slate. Slate roofing generally ranks as one of the most expensive roofing materials available, but when its long-term durability is considered, the cost is actually quite competitive with other premium roofing products. And nothing can reproduce the natural variation and attractiveness of a real slate roof. In business since 1916, Evergreen Slate Co. offers slate from two dozen quarries in 11 different colors. All products meet the ASTM S1 designation, meaning they'll last from 75 to 100 years. The color shown, variegated purple, costs between $300 and $350 per square — which is less, says the maker, than the price of some synthetic substitutes. Evergreen Slate Co., 866/815-2900,

Hand-Crafted Tile. Tile-maker Stuart Matthews spent more than 20 years selling and marketing clay and concrete roof tiles before becoming so dissatisfied with the white-bread offerings of major makers that he started his own tile manufacturing and importing company, Northern Roof Tiles. Each of the individually hand-finished tiles in his Pilgrim line is unique, lending roofs the kind of beauty and randomness that adorns centuries-old European villas. Unlike similar imported products, Pilgrims are designed for installing on a plywood roof deck — rather than on skip sheathing — and, at 15 by 71/4 inches (305 pieces per square), they're large, so they install fast. They come in red, brown, buff, and black; prices start at $850 per square. Northern Roof Tiles, 888/678-6866,

Avalanche Protection. While assembling this collection of products, I spoke with two industry experts who emphasized the importance of installing snow guards on slate and tile roofs in northern climates. Not only do snow guards reduce injuries and property damage from unexpected avalanches, these sources said, but they prevent sliding snow and ice from breaking slates and tiles at valleys, eaves, and collection zones. Both experts also noted that the company Alpine SnowGuards produces excellent products and is helpful in designing an effective system. The manufacturer's most popular offering, the #10 snow guard, works with both slate and flat tile, and sells for about $6 in copper. Alpine SnowGuards, 888/766-4273,

Lighten Up! Slate roofs are extremely heavy — up to 1,000 pounds per square. So if your customer wants a slate roof on a building that wasn't built for it, look to Majestic Slate Colonial Tiles. Made from EDPM rubber and TPO plastic, they weigh a mere 246 pounds per square at a 6-inch exposure — a fraction of natural slate's heft. Designed to mimic the smaller format of Eastern slate, the composite tiles come in nine colors and feature a 50-year warranty, Class 4 impact resistance, and a 100-mph-wind warranty. Prices start at about $285 per square. EcoStar, 800/211-7170,

Lightweight Concrete. Its durability, fire resistance, and good looks make concrete tile a favorite roofing material in hot climates like Southern California — but the product is so heavy it's sometimes unsuitable for reroof applications, especially if a lighter material like asphalt or wood shakes is being replaced. At about 650 pounds per square, however, MonierLifetile's Duralite and Cedarlite concrete tiles often can be installed in these applications — without structural modifications to the building. Installed, Cedarlite costs $650 per square, Duralite $550. Both prices include tear-off of the old roof and installation of new plywood sheathing. MonierLifetile, 800/224-2024,

Made in Your Shade. Looking for a clay roof tile with a little extra color and pizzazz? Ludowici's 40 standard roof-tile hues range from the subtle — Vermont gray, desert sand, beach brown, aged oak — to the jaw-dropping: midnight black, Hawaiian gold, royal Persian (above), Brookville green (left), Impressionist (far left). According to Ludowici, no other company offers as wide a spectrum. Custom colors are also available. Prices for glazed tile start at about $400 per square. Ludowici, 800/917-8998,