During its 2014 New Product Symposium held this month, Milwaukee Tool announced it's entering the tool storage category with a creative line of hard- and soft-sided storage solutions. One new product that got interest from the crowd and continues to do so on social media is the Jobsite Backpack, a reinforced bag with plenty of contractor-requested features. Whether you're hauling tools up a ladder, or just looking for a new way to stay geared-up, you'll want to check this out.

First, contractors will appreciate the hard plastic bottom that allows the bag to stand upright when it's set down, and keeps the base clean and dry on messy jobsites. The molded base further helps ensure durability well beyond what a standard canvas backpack might provide. Sharp tool's won't be able to perforate the bottom of this pack, or the sides for that matter. The bag is constructed of 1680D ballistic material for extreme durability.

Think it sounds too rugged to be comfortable? Think again. The Milwaukee team took plenty of contractor feedback into account when it designed the Jobsite Backpack's padded, breathable straps and sternum buckle to provide comfort and ergonomics. Those features will come in handy, considering the gear the pack is expected to carry. In addition to a fold-down front pocket for large items like drills and extension cords, the large middle pocket has plenty of pockets and elastic straps to keep hand tools well organized. Contractors that want to stay connected on the go will be happy to hear that the backpack incorporates a padded compartment that can accommodate up to a 15.6-inch laptop or tablet. Milwaukee reps say the Jobsite Backpack will retail around $100 when it officially launches in November 2014. Milawaukee Tool | 800.729.3878 | milwaukeetool.com

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For large jobs at heights, scaffolding makes more sense than a ladder, but how safe is the scaffold you use on a regular basis? Make an investment in worker safety with the XS Platforms SafeTower. Unlike standard scaffolds, SafeTower features the maker's QuiXSafe retractable, ergonomic brace that mounts between the vertical panels first. Once that's up, users can take advantage of a door and integrated stair in each platform, allowing them to assemble the tower from the inside out. By the time workers reach the upper platform, they're already behind a guard rail. The maker says one system lets users work at any desired height using fewer components than any other system available. SafeTower is designed to adhere to all U.S. and Canadian safety guidelines. Pricing will vary, but for approximately $15,000, users can get a three-tier tower offering an 8-foot-long by 2-foot-wide platforms, and a scaffold width of 4 1/2 feet. Did you just gasp at the price tag? Check out this great video of the scaffold being erected to get an idea of the flexibility of the rig and the improved safety as it goes up and while it's being used. Keeping workers out of harm's way could save thousands on workers' compensation bills and OSHA fines for scaffolding hazards in the workplace. XS Platforms is also looking for product dealers around the country. XS Platforms | 530.343.1400 | safescaffold.com

Construction can't stop just because it starts to rain. To help protect exposed subfloors, RigidCoat subfloor underlayment features a water-repellant coating on the surface to protect the material from the elements. RigidCoat is formulated to block up to 40% of moisture absorption. The coating extends from the top of the panel to the tongue-and-groove edges, and is backed by a limited lifetime products and performance homeowner warranty. Produced from Douglas fir and other western species for strength and dimensional stability, the material is graded PS1 by the APA - The Engineered Wood Association. The veneer is fully sanded for uniform thickness, and is balanced to reduce panel warping. Floor covering can be installed directly over RigidCoat. Roseburg Forest Products | roseburg.com

Sterling ComforTrack

Whether you're stepping into the shower yourself or getting ready to bathe the little ones, Sterling wants to you get comfortable. The maker's ComforTrack technology comes to market as a flexible bottom track for tub and shower doors. Ideal for aging-in-place and universal design projects, the cushioned threshold bends to help create a safer and more comfortable experience for users that need to sit, lean, or kneel on the track when bathing a pet or loved one. It can also help alleviate painful stubbed toes for users getting in and out of the tub or shower. In addition to being flexible, Sterling says the heavy-duty TPVC material stood up to rigorous product testing and will outlast day-to-day wear and tear and cleaning with mild cleaners. The low-profile track is available on the maker's Prevail shower and tub doors. After the door itself is installed as usual, the ComforTrack component presses onto the aluminum bottom track with an interference fit, and the ComforTrack piece that ships with the door will come longer than needed so installers can trim it to fit. 

Prevail doors with ComforTrack cost about $280 for the bath door model and $295 for shower doors. Finishes for the doors include silver or nickel, and users can choose from frosted, clear, pebbled, or Templar glass patterns. Look for a version for frameless shower doors coming soon. Sterling | 800.783.7546 | sterlingplumbing.com

MusselBound Adhesive Tile Mat

File this under "products to make your life easier." MusselBound Adhesive Tile Mat is the latest product in the adhesive tile backer category and offers some benefits over similar products, according to president and technical director Terry Jones. Jones says MusselBound works to improve on some areas where other products were lacking, primarily their workability. "MusselBound as the unique ability that, prior to it being firmly pressed in place, it's very forgiving in its repositionability," he says. "You can apply it to the wall, and if you don't like how it is, you can pull it back. You have a lot of forgiveness when it comes to repositioning, both with placing the adhesive on the wall and placing the tile on the adhesive." Once the material and tile are firmly in position, they're not going anywhere. MusselBound has 15 times more shear and peel strength than competitive products, and meets industry standards for tile adhesion. Installers and their clients will also appreciate that MusselBound's adhesive is continuous, while others have adhesive in a pattern, which can result in a minimum tile size limitations. "In some cases, if you're using small tile and it doesn't land right on the pattern, you're out of luck," Jones explains. "With continuous adhesive, you can apply the smallest hand-laid mosaic you'd ever want to try."

MusselBound and other products in the category open up a world of DIY opportunities for homeowners, but Jones says he's received numerous testimonials from professionals who were wary of its too-good-to-be-true allure. Pros who tried the material were pleased with its effectiveness and get-in, get-out solution. The pricepoint didn't hurt either. At about $1.80 per square foot, the material costs slightly more than traditional thinset mortar, but comes with much more convenience and no messy clean-up.

The installation is as easy as the website promises: Apply the sheets to the wall, peel off the facing layer, and place the tile. MusselBound is a plain white mat, so it wont' affect the look of glass tile, and any grout can be used with the material. The sheets can go directly over a variety of substrates, including existing tile or laminate, so demolition can be all but eliminated in some cases. MusselBound is ideal for backsplashes, shower walls, countertops, and other accent areas (think stair risers or breakfast bar footrests). However, the 1/32-inch sheets are not leveling materials, so MusselBound is not recommended for use with flooring. The product is available at Lowe's. MusselBound | musselbound.com

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