Editor's Product Pick
Home improvement a bright spot in dim housing market
It's not all bad news in the industry these days: for 2007, growth in home improvement spending "will hold stable" at a projected 3%, according to a leading indicator from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. That takes the market up to $306 billion.
The Leading Indicator for Remodeling Activity, released July 19, shows that homeowner spending forhome improvements will remain constant through the first quarter of 2008.
"Falling sales of existing homes and depressed remodeling contractor sentiment remain negative factors in the outlook for the industry," Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program of the Joint Center, said in a news release. "With borrowing costs remaining favorable, though, owners are still able to take advantage of the run-up in their house's value over the past decade to finance home improvement projects."
Dallas-based Builders FirstSource announced Aug. 1 that it has acquired Bama Truss and Componentsof Shelby, Ala., a maker of multifamily and light commercial manufactured structural components. Bama's former owner, Pat Shugrue, will be a consultant to Builders FirstSource. Bama has annual sales of approximately $25 million. ...Nashville, Tenn.-based building-materials supplier Louisiana-Pacific Corp.announced July 25 that it will sell its Meridian, Idaho, composite decking plant to Fiber Composites. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The sale, expected to close at the end of the third quarter, includes use of the WeatherBest brand name. ...Elgin Butler Co. of Elgin, Texas, will acquire Dallas-based Lone Star Ceramics, maker of unglazed porcelain dot-mounted mosaics, Lone Star announced July 17. The newly renovated Lone Star plant will be relocated to Elgin Butler corporate headquarters and should be fully operational by December, the company said. ...Owens Corning announced July 17 it has reached a definitive agreement to sell its Siding Solutions business to Saint-Gobain for $371 million. Part of the deal are three vinyl siding manufacturing facilities in Claremont, N.C., Joplin, Mo., and London, Ontario.
Russin Lumber Corp., Montgomery, N.Y., announced July 23 it will open a manufacturing facility in the Concepcion area of Chile. The plant will produce the fingerjoint Radiata pineboards that Russin Factory Finishing converts into Advantage Trim. ...Superior Walls by Precast Concrete Solutions relaunched a 30,000 square-foot facility July 1 in Springfield, Ill., to capitalize on the home-building market in the state, the company stated. The facility, originally opened in 1998, manufactures Superior Walls precast foundation systems. ... Jeld-Wen Inc. of Klamath Falls, Ore., has plans for a new facility in Cass Township, Pa., the company has announced. It will become the permanent home for two Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors facilities in Ringtown, Pa. ...McCoy's Building Supplies broke ground July 27 for its new headquarters in San Marcos, Texas. The forthcoming three-story, 73,400-square-foot facility will replace the current 48,000-square-foot headquarters, which had been built by McCoy's employees. ...Crane Group of Columbus, Ohio, announced July 16 the creation of Crane Building Products, a business unit to be led by Stu Kemper, former president of TimberTech. The new unit will oversee six independent operating companies that make and sell residential and commercial construction and remodeling products.
Bill Hayward, CEO of Hayward Lumber in Monterey, Calif., on Aug. 1 began serving his term as chairman of the board of the Forest Stewardship Council-U.S. ...Tom Gramlich has been named president of Columbus, Ohio-based TimberTech, replacing Stu Kemper, who became president of Crane Building Products. Gramlich had been TimberTech's vice president and general manager. ... The Florida Building Material Association has named Don Magruder, vice president and general manager of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, as its chairman of the board for 2007-08. Magruder has been with Ro-Mac since 1998. ...Trex Co.'s Anthony Cavanna has retired as chief executive officer, effective Aug. 15, the Winchester, Va., company announced. Andrew Ferrari, president and chief operating officer, succeeds Cavanna, who will stay on as chairman of the board. Cavanna, 68, and Ferrari, 60, are among four executives who founded Trex in 1996. ...Simonton Windows in Parkersburg, W.Va., has named Andy Shashlo as vice president of operations. Before joining Simonton in mid-June, Shashlo had been site manager for Ford Motor Co.'s Rouge Center. ...The Screen Manufacturers Association picked Kelly King, vice president of The RiteScreen Co., as its new president. ...Tom Schlueter has been named vice president of ECMD Inc. for the south-central U.S. Two ECMD divisions, EastCoast Moulding Co. and Arndt & Herman Building Products Co., announced plans to serve the Texas and Louisiana markets from Houston.
The Florida Building Material Association honors John Riley Aug. 24–two days after Riley turns 90–at its annual Old Timer's Luncheon. His achievement: Riley has worked 70 years for the same LBM company in Largo, Fla., at everything from sales to running a steam locomotive. ...ProSales magazine won three awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors' Central-Southeast Regionfor articles published in 2006. Honored were former senior editor Chris Wood's "Viewpoint" column, research done for "New Era" from last year's ProSales 100 report, and the "House Calls" section for regular feature.
New South Construction Supply made this year's list of the "Best Places to Work in South Carolina,"as chosen by SCBIZ in partnership with various organizations in the state. The West Columbia, S.C., construction products distributor is among 12 winners named in the small- to midsize business category. ...The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association was among more than 300 supporters at a July 24 fund-raiser to assist a small dry-cleaning firm in Washington that was sued for $54 million over pair of lost pants. The lawsuit was dismissed, but the small-business owners face mounting legal fees. ... Vendors exhibiting at the Do it Best May market donated $232,900 worth of products to the Muncie, Ind., Habitat for Humanity Home Discount Center following the event.
The percentage of American adults who got sunburned from 1999 to 2004, an increase from 32%. Sunburn increases the risk of developing melanoma and basal cell carcinoma skin cancers.
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 31
The number of pounds of copper products used by the building construction market in 2006, accounting for half of total usage in the United States.
Source: Copper Development Association
The number of full and part-time working adults who claim their bathroom is larger than their office cubicle.
Source: National survey sponsored by Fellowes Inc.
The average number of cases per year, from 1990 to 2005, of people treated for ladder-related injuries that involved a trip to a hospital emergency room.
Source: MedlinePlus, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_49434.html