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Thirty-pound felt just isn't what it used to be — and in wet and windy conditions it was never that great to begin with. If your weather forecast looks a little iffy and your budget allows it, try one of the new synthetic underlayments. Grace promises that its Tri-Flex 30 can be left exposed for up to six months, that it has much better tear and slip resistance than 30-pound felt, and that it won't wrinkle when wet. A 10-square roll weighs approximately 30 pounds and sells for about $135. Grace, 866/333-3726,

Cool Cover.

Like other synthetic roofing underlayments, Titanium UDL weighs much less than roofing felt and has better tear and water resistance. Unlike some other synthetic underlayments, though, it's light gray instead of black, which should keep the roof surface — and you — a little more comfortable in sunny weather. Plus the material's textured surface provides better traction than similar products, says the maker. Expect to pay about $140 for a 4-foot-wide 10-square roll. InterWrap, 888/713-7663,

Do-It-All Wrap.

Typar touts its polypropylene RoofWrap 30 as an ideal underlayment for shingles, cedar shakes, tile, slate, and metal. Polypropylene underlayments tend to have excellent tear resistance and won't crack or become brittle in cold temperatures. The company covers RoofWrap 30 with a 20-year warranty when it's installed according to the instructions. A 411/2-inch 10-square roll weighs about 30 pounds and sells for between $120 and $150. Typar, 800/284-2780,

Deck Railings

Glass Act.

When it comes to decks, the truism that accessories complete the outfit couldn't be more apropos. If your customers are looking for a way to set their deck apart, suggest Woodway's Glass Post Caps. Available in several hues — cobalt blue, amber, olive green, and black — these toppers come in three sizes to fit most common-sized posts: 4x4 for 31/2-inch posts; 6x6 for 51/2-inch posts; and "universal" for 31/2- to 43/8-inch (sleeved) posts. Unlike plastic ones, the company says, glass caps won't fade or peel. Prices range from $14 to $17 apiece for 4x4 caps and from $23 to $26 for 6x6s. LWO Corp., 800/459-8718,

Pass the Test.

Increasingly, building-inspection departments and code-enforcement officers want documentation proving that deck-railing assemblies are strong enough to prevent structural failure. When installed according to the maker's directions, the QS Pro Vinyl Railing System can withstand a force of more than 500 pounds per post, says the company — easily satisfying code requirements. (Third-party testing has confirmed this claim; see QS Pro's Web site for a copy of the test report.) The rail comes in two styles in white, almond, and khaki; each system includes vinyl-clad aluminum top rails and vinyl balusters, post sleeves, and bottom rails. Tempered glass panels and custom shapes are available too. List prices start at $22.50 per foot. QS Pro Railing Systems, 877/649-9896,

Rugged Rail.

Most vinyl rail systems use conventional pressure-treated posts and aluminum-reinforced rail sections. CertainTeed's latest introduction is different. Made from the company's PVC- and maple-flour-based fiber composite and wrapped with a white PVC skin, Panorama allegedly holds up better in salt air and other corrosive environments than its aluminum-reinforced counterparts. It boasts stainless-steel hardware, predrilled top and bottom rails, and a class-A fire rating. Suggested retail prices are $27 to $30 per running foot. CertainTeed, 800/233-8990,



With a firebox roughly the size of a hefty beer cooler, the Villa Vista is purportedly the biggest EPA II-approved wood-burning manufactured fireplace on the market. According to the maker, the unit's 70,000-Btu (input) catalytic burner can heat up to 2,500 square feet. The herringbone-patterned box — trimmed in black, gold, or nickel — also comes with a flush-face front that the maker says makes it look more like a real masonry fireplace. List prices start at about $2,400. Lennox Hearth Products, 800/953-6669,

Petite Heat.

Not every residential space calls for a huge fireplace. With a freestanding unit like the Paloma, smaller areas — bedrooms, home offices, small condos, urban apartments — can soak up some extra heat and ambiance without being overwhelmed. The Paloma's compact footprint allows it to fit just about anywhere, and its hip styling recently snagged a hearth-industry award. Input Btu ratings range from 22,500 to 30,000; list prices start at about $2,400. Heat & Glo, 888/427-3973,

Made-to-Order Mantel.

A classic wood mantel is a great way to finish off a fireplace, but some rooms require a different look. In such cases, you might want to check out Sonoma Stone's custom Fireplace Surrounds. Composed of cast concrete in 40 standard and hundreds of custom colors, these beauties come in just about any size to complement an array of architectural styles, from traditional to modern. Prices start at about $1,200, shipping not included. Sonoma Cast Stone, 877/283-2400,