After years of looking, I had just about concluded that high-quality wall caps didn’t exist when I came across Seiho’s Aluminum and Stainless Steel Dryer Vents. Good-looking and well-made, they come in several styles, with and without dampers. Prices start at about $40. Seiho also makes stylish, high-quality hvac diffusers and grills. Seiho,
Running low-voltage landscape lighting is easier with the direct-burial Pro Series LV Junction. Made from polycarbonate with stainless-steel contacts, the hub has a silicone-filled junction block for the line side and six O-ring sealed connections for fixtures. It costs $140. Companion 16-gauge 25-foot cables cost $20 each. Kichler, 866/558-5706, www.landscapelighting.com.
Conscientious carpenters now have an easy and convenient way to field-prime vulnerable end grain. End Cuts water-based primer — which comes in a plastic bottle with a sponge applicator — is the perfect size for your toolbelt and won’t spill. It’s suitable for interior and exterior use; a similar product with a clear finish is also available. A 4-ounce bottle of End Cuts costs $10. Ze-Vo Products, 508/879-3151, www.ze-vo.com.
One of the major beefs contractors and homeowners have with solar water-heating systems is that they require a conventional water heater for backup. However, the EnerWorks uses a conventional electric water heater for both storage and backup, making a second tank unnecessary. Single-collector systems — excluding installation — start at about $3,300. EnerWorks, 877/268-6502, www.enerworks.com.
For professional-quality landscape lighting, skip the home-center products and get a Dual Output Multi-Tap Transformer from Sea Gull Lighting. Housed in a powder-coated metal cabinet with plenty of room for connections, it’s thermally protected and dimmable, and comes in 600- and 1,000-watt versions with one boost tap to compensate for the voltage drop associated with longer runs. Model 94065-12 (1,000 watts) costs about $500. Sea Gull Lighting, 800/347-5483, www.seagulllighting.com.
Although stripping paint is never going to be fun, it can at least be less dangerous. Jasco Green Strip is biodegradable, low-odor, and safe to use indoors, according to the manufacturer. Free from methylene chloride, it clings to vertical surfaces and removes both oil and latex paints. The company says the softened paint and stripper is ready for removal in about an hour. A 22-ounce spray bottle sells for $12. Homax Products, 800/729-9029, www.homaxproducts.com.
Available in seven widths from 2 to 4 feet, Quick Drain is made entirely from 316 stainless steel and is only 21/4 inches tall with the trap. The maker claims it works with any size or thickness of tile and can be installed anywhere in the shower floor. Prices start at $400. Quick Drain USA, 970/389-6582, www.quickdrainusa.com.
When conventional lumber can’t span the distance on your outdoor project, give Wolmanized Parallam PSL (parallel strand lumber) a try. This pressure-treated product is rated for unprotected exterior applications and comes in headers, beams, and posts that can be painted or stained with oil-based finishes. The maker says it resists insects and decay better than conventional treated lumber. The company did not provide pricing. Weyerhaeuser Co., 888/453-8358, www.ilevel.com.