Once again, the editors of ProSales have sifted through thousands of products in search of the latest Editors' Choice Award winners–those products introduced during the past year that stand out for their innovation, problem-solving abilities, and all-around coolness. What also defines these products is their ability to make you think about their potential in your yard and about the overall range of products and services you offer. As you read about the 15 Editors' Choice winners this year, ask yourself not only how they can fit into your business now, but also how they can help your business and your customers' businesses grow.
Wondering how to increase security and counteract theft in your tool and equipment rental services? Consider DeWalt's MobileLock GPS Locator and Anti-Theft Alarm. Are some of your customers using steel frame construction? Surely they'd prefer to install supportive wood backers in less time; point them toward our Group Award winners. Interested in expanding your installed sales services? Perhaps you should broaden your horizons and take a look at central vacuum systems.
Year after year, the diversity of our Editors' Choice winners continues to reflect the many ways in which the pro supply industry changes and evolves. We hope many of these products will strike your fancy and reveal themselves to you as valuable tools–not just more items to sell–as you progress through 2007.
Cosella-Döken Products. Adding to the innovative features manufacturers have incorporated into housewraps to manage bulk water and moisture more effectively, Cosella-Dörken's Delta-Dry combines a weather barrier with a radiant barrier to help maintain indoor climates and increase energy efficiency as well as manage water and moisture. Delta-Dry's metallic silver coloration reflects approximately 60% of radiant heat, the company says. A 3-D stud-and-channel structure creates a continuous airspace on both sides of the wrap, facilitating drying and drainage of the wall cavity. 888.433.5824. www.delta-dry.com.
Stanley. Take one look at Stanley's FatMax Xtreme Fubar (functional utility bar) and you'll know it's capable of doing major damage. Equal parts sledgehammer, pry bar, ripping chisel, wood splitter, board bender, and nail puller, the Fubar can tackle a variety of demolition jobs. It provides an oversized striking face with a long tempered edge opposite an extracting claw with two-tiered jaws designed for grabbing different sizes of dimensional lumber and decking. A tempered chisel blade splits and cuts materials or metal strapping. A beveled nail slot and pry bar claw and an over-molded rubber grip round out the Fubar's features. 800.782.6539. www.stanleyworks.com.
Panasonic. As homes continue to get tighter, mechanical ventilation is becoming more important for exhausting polluted air and drawing in fresh air. Attacking this problem with an all-in-one solution, Panasonic developed its WhisperGreen line–bath ventilation fans that double as whole-house fans. The fans run continuously at 30 cfm but ramp up to 80 cfm when switched on or activated by an integrated motion sensor. They continue running at 80 cfm for up to 60 minutes after the person has left the room, then cut back to 30 cfm. Panasonic says the DC-motor fans are 75% to 400% more efficient (depending on specs) than the minimum Energy Star requirements. WhisperGreen fans operate at a very low sone rating of 0.3. 866.292.7292. www.panasonic.com/ventfans.
Elk Slate Products. With TruSlate 2.0, Elk has taken a premium roofing product and made it easier to install as well as less expensive. The TruSlate 2.0 roofing system installs without nails, has less material waste, eliminates the need for extra structural support, and brings down the cost of a slate roof to be comparably priced with synthetic slate products. The weight of each slate shingle is reduced because the traditional headlap–most of which would be covered by the slate course above–has been eliminated. Each slate's overall length is reduced, and instead of nail-down installation, slates rest in stainless steel hangers attached to battens. The system's HDPE interlayer is installed under each course to seal the roof. Powder coating matches the batten system to each slate color. 888.355.5882. www.elkcorp.com.
Universal Forest Products. ProWood Micro pressure-treated wood utilizes a waterborne preservative system that contains micronized copper particles, which are small enough to remain suspended in solution without the need for a solvent, thus reducing the corrosive properties of the lumber, the company says. The preservative, which also includes the same quaternary compound found in ACQ preservatives, forms an insoluble complex with the cellular structure of the wood that won't break down over time. ProWood Micro can be used in direct contact with aluminum and with the same hot-dipped galvanized fasteners traditionally used with CCA-treated woods in a variety of above-ground and ground-contact outdoor applications. A dimensionally stable kiln-dried version and a color-infused version are also available. 800.598.9663. www.prowoodmicro.com.
AZEK Building Products. The AZEK to Mill program provides millwork shops and contractors with 1-1/4-inch-thick cellular PVC trimboards and sheets, making the task of laminating several thinner boards together to achieve the correct thickness a thing of the past. Skipping the board-laminating step is a major time and labor savings, so shops can produce more milled profiles, especially thicker items. AZEK to Mill provides the look and feel of wood trim without the maintenance issues, the manufacturer says, and is available in boards 9-1/4 inches wide by 18 feet long and in sheets 48 inches wide by 96 inches long. 877.275.2935. www.azek.com.
Beam Central Vacuums. OK, we know central vacs aren't within most LBM dealers' usual purview. But products that improve indoor air quality, such as central vacs, are becoming more and more in-demand by homeowners, and are giving dealers an opportunity to differentiate their offerings and expand installed sales programs. The Serenity QS Power Unit is particularly cool. The unit's collection receptacle is lined with an agent that prevents the formation and growth of mold. Its motor produces up to 640 air watts of cleaning power, but the system operates 4 decibels quieter than competing systems, the company says. A self-cleaning filtration system traps dust on its filter's surface membrane and then sheds it into the collection receptacle when the unit is turned off. 515.832.4620. www.beam.com.
Huber Engineered Woods. Zip System roof and wall sheathing panels are impregnated with coatings that act as integral, code-compliant water and moisture barriers so separate housewraps and felt paper underlayments are unnecessary. The weather barriers can't blow off or get torn. Zip Wall Sheathing panels, which install just like standard structural panels, feature a breathable Stormex water-resistive barrier. Zip Roof Sheathing panels' Precipitek built-in moisture barrier acts as a roofing underlayment and protects against moisture penetration. Seams between panels are sealed with Zip System Tape. 800.394.2675. www.huberwood.com.
DeckLok Bracket Systems. The DeckLok Bracket is engineered to help prevent deck, railing, and stair collapse by strengthening and reinforcing critical deck connections. According to the company, DeckLok anchors the ledger board to the house's floor joists to provide up to 4,000 pounds of resistance to deck pullout; it can be used to reinforce the connection between a stair stringer and the deck frame; and it can be added to a railing system to provide a 500% strength increase over nails alone. Adding DeckLok to current deck-building methods helps make decks IRC 2006 compliant, the manufacturer says. The brackets are made from 16-gauge steel and are available with a hot-dipped galvanized coating for treated wood applications. 866.617.3325. www.deck-lok.com.
Quiet Solution. The manufacturer says it is making high-performance noise reduction more affordable with its QuietRock 510 soundproof drywall, priced as low as $39.95 per 4x8 panel. The panels, for wall and ceiling applications, offer a single-step sound reduction system that typically provides STC ratings of 49 to 68 depending on construction techniques and material combinations, according to the company. Also, the drywall's STC values will not deteriorate even after the homeowner hangs decorations or shelving on the walls. Half-inch-thick QuietRock 510 panels score, snap, hang, and finish like regular drywall for easy installation. 800.797.8159. www.quietsolution.com.
DeWalt. The MobileLock GPS Locator and Anti-Theft Alarm is a stand-alone, wireless locating device that uses GPS to track the location of lost or stolen equipment and tools. The device fastens with screws or attaches with magnets onto any piece of equipment, and is programmed via a Web site. When a protected piece of equipment is disturbed or if someone attempts to remove the MobileLock unit, an alarm activates, notifying the owner via e-mail or phone. The owner can then log on to the MobileLock Web site and view street maps and satellite imagery to pinpoint the equipment's approximate location and pass that information to police. MobileLock units run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that remain powered for about 30 days. In addition to curtailing theft, the system can be helpful for large companies with multiple sites where equipment is shared and therefore hard to track. It also can be useful for dealers that offer tool and equipment rentals. 800.433.9258. www.dewalt.com.
NuCedar Mills. NuCedar's tapered clapboard siding is milled from solid cellular PVC, providing the look of cedar while resisting water absorption, swelling, and insects, according to the company. Boards install with a nailing hem, similar to what's done with vinyl siding. A groove at the top and bottom of each 1/2-inch-thick board locks them securely together, adding strength. A baked-on polyurethane finish, available in 22 colors, is warranted against chipping, peeling, and cracking for 15 years. The lightweight clapboards come in 12- and 16-foot lengths in smooth and cedar-grain textures. 866.393.8883. www.nucedar.com.
Master Lock. The NightWatch deadbolt looks and operates just like a normal deadbolt, but a blocking function can be set from the inside to lock out all keys. The patented feature provides an extra element of nighttime security for single-person households and multifamily residences, where maintenance staff or others may have been issued copies of keys. To engage the blocking system, the occupant pulls back on the deadbolt thumbturn once it is locked. The NightWatch deadbolt also is designed to prevent lock bumping and picking. It fits all doors and can be installed as easily as a standard deadbolt. 800.308.9244. www.masterdoorlock.com.
Wall Backers for Steel Framing
Steel framing, long a staple of light commercial and multifamily structures, is becoming a more popular option for residential building in some locales because of climate or termite issues.
As contractors become familiar with steel framing, solutions that address some of its minor inefficiencies are starting to pop up, such as the two prefabricated wood backing systems featured below. Necessary for anchoring items like cabinetry and handrails to steel-framed walls, wood backers are usually cut and installed one by one. These wood backing systems eliminate on-site fabrication and the individual installation process.
Dietrich Metal Framing. The prefabricated Danback flexible wood backing system saves 90% of the time required to install backers by the usual one-at-a-time method, the company says. The 48-inch pre-cut assemblies are suitable for 16- and 24-inch on-center framing and feature Class A fire resistant Arch Dricon plywood sections joined by flexible metal hinges. Danback installs by snapping the leading edge into place, flexing the unit around stud flanges, and screwing the metal hinge into the face of the stud. 770.805.3280. www.dricon.com.
Buttboard. Providing support for wall-mounted details such as cabinets, shelving, handrails, grab bars, and counters in steel-framed applications, the Buttboard Backerboard wood backing system is designed for fast, one-person installation. It comes ready to install for 16- or 24-inch on-center framing with standard or fire-retardant treated plywood (dyed red for easy identification). Buttboard Backerboard is distributed by Trim-Tex Drywall Products. 800.874.2333. www.trim-tex.com.