Pocket Primer

Priming all end cuts is an essential step for prolonging the life of paint or stain on exterior wood trim or siding. That's more convenient if you carry End Cuts in your pouch — a handy 4-ounce bottle of VOC-free acrylic primer with a leakproof sponge-applicator end. Whether you're on the staging or manning the chop saw, just swipe the freshly cut end with the sponge tip for a prime coat that will block the uptake of moisture into the end grain in service. For more information, contact Ze-VO Products Group, 508/879-3151, www.zevoproductsgroup.com.

New Trim Styles

CertainTeed is broadening its palette of durable cellular PVC exterior trim elements with six new molding profiles in the Restoration Millwork line, including lattice, J-channel brick mold, and adjustable backband. Also new: 12-foot trim boards in various lengths, and 11/2-inch-thick sheets and trim boards that make it easier for craftsmen to rout and machine their own deep profiles for custom trim looks. For more information, contact CertainTeed, 800/233-8900, www.certainteed.com.

Synthetic Stone Backer

Brick, manufactured stone, and stucco provide great durability against the weather, but they have a critical vulnerability to windblown rain. Under wet conditions, the porous materials and mortar joints typically let water behind the hard cladding, where moisture can wreak havoc with vulnerable wood sheathing and framing. For that, Benjamin Obdyke offers Mortairvent, a two-ply system that uses open polymer mesh to create a ventilated drainage space, faced with filter fabric to keep mortar droppings from clogging the open space. Installed over code-compliant housewrap or building paper, Mortairvent helps the space behind mortared claddings drain and dry, for long-term durability of the entire wall system. For more information, contact Benjamin Obdyke Inc., 800/346-7655, www.benjaminobdyke.com.

Rugged Efficiency

Wisconsin window-maker Weather Shield targets the coastal market with a line of windows and patio doors that combine impact-rated glass with a high-tech array of energy-efficient options. The company's LifeGuard impact-resistant windows meet ASTM Standards E1886 and E1996 for resistance to windborne debris. But on top of that, Weather Shield offers close to the ultimate in energy-efficient glass with its proprietary Zo-e-Shield Coastal glazing package. Advanced energy-conserving window elements include multiple low-e glass coatings, an inert gas between panes, and a warm-edge nonmetallic glazing spacer. Units are aluminum-clad for exterior durability and offer a choice of five wood species or a custom prefinish for beauty on the inside. For more information, contact Weather Shield, 800/222-2995, www.weathershield.com.

Wind-Resistant Synthetic

Want the look of natural slate, but without real slate's heavy weight? Take a look at Inspire Roofing, a synthetic polymer and limestone blend designed to resemble the shape and color variations of natural slate. Inspire assemblies have passed the 110-mph test in the Miami-Dade County Protocal TAS 100-95 for resistance to wind and wind-blown rain, and the manufacturer says calculations indicate that the material will comply with International Code requirements for wind speed zones up to 150-mph (with some building height restrictions in the highest wind zone). For more information, contact the Inspire Roofing Products, 800/971-4148, www.inspireroofing.com.

Amped-Up Sawzall

If you like your Sawzall but want more power, consider Milwaukee's latest upgrade: the 15-amp Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw (model 6538-21), which the company says is now the most powerful reciprocating saw on the market. The just-launched tool comes with several enhancements besides the extra amps: "constant power technology" to maintain constant speed under load, a "gear-protecting clutch" in case your blade gets pinched, and a "counter-balance mechanism" to damp down vibration, reducing fatigue for the user. For more information, contact Milwaukee, 800/729-3878, www.milwaukeetool.com.

Easy-Nailing Bead Board

Rotproof, bugproof, and resistant to salt spray, cellular PVC trim and siding products also offer the advantage of being machinable like wood (for on-site tips, see "Not Just a Pretty Face," January/February 2006, www.coastalcontractor.net). The uniform consistency of cellular PVC lets it take on some shapes that wood can't match. A case in point is Stealth Bead Board from Versatex, part of an exterior architectural product lineup that includes window and door trim, sheet goods, and siding starter boards. Ideal for porch ceilings or wainscot details, Stealth Bead Board comes with a new, wider nailing flange, offering quicker installation for nailgun-toting production carpenters (with the accuracy of a positive tongue-and-groove fit). The easy-to-hit wide tongue has no knots and grain to split or crack the way wood might. For more information, contact Wolfpac Technologies, Inc., 724/266-7928, www.versatex.com.

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