New Home Products from the 2009 International Builders’ Show
By: Danny Lipford
The annual building industry trade show, organized by the National Association of Homebuilders, was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center recently with many innovative new products on display.
Hidden Deck Fasteners
Hidden deck fasteners are the best way to put down composite decking, and this specially modified pneumatic nail gun from Tiger Claw makes installing them as easy as pulling a trigger. The fastener clips on the gun then it shoots a Ballistic NailScrew into the decking to hold the clip in place.
If you think all hammers are the same, then you haven’t tried the Stiletto Tools Titanium TiBone Hammer. Not only does it have the driving power of a much heavier hammer, but it comes with a cool magnetic nail starter and unique nail pulling feature built into the side of the head.
Reciprocating Saw Scraper
Removing dried mastic or adhesive has just gotten a lot easier thanks to the Spyder Scraper from Simple Man Products. The blade attaches to any reciprocating saw to turn it into a high-speed scraper that cuts a 3” wide path in seconds.
Plastic Dust Barrier
The ZipWall Dust Barrier uses telescoping poles to hold a plastic barrier firmly in place against the ceiling without the need for fasteners. It even includes a zipper for easy access.
Hands Free Level and Notepad
The Wood Magnet from Swanson Tools clips to 2” lumber to make plumbing and leveling a snap. Another cool idea on display from Swanson was a belt clip notepad that flips open to allow you to jot down measurements on the fly.
The Rockwell SoniCrafter is an oscillating tool that comes with different attachments that can allow it to cut through everything from grout and drywall to wood and steel. It can even be used to trim door jambs for flooring. The high-speed oscillating action results in less damage to the work than rotating tools while minimizing dust.
Vibration Free Sander
Rockwell also demonstrated its new vibrafree tools which are made to reduce vibration. They include a reciprocating saw and a random orbit sander that uses two rotating disks in opposite directions to limit the amount of vibration generated by the tool.
One of the most unique inventions at the show was 3-D Printing from Metaltec Innovations. This unusual process can take any CAD (computer aided design) plan and turn it into solid, three dimensional objects by building up multiple layers of stainless steel powder fused together with a binder. The result is nothing short of incredible with even the most intricate details rendered perfectly. If you can draw the plan, Metaltec can turn it into reality.
Keyless Entry Lock
The SmartCode lock from Kwikset is a durable, keyless entry deadbolt that features one button automatic locking with two programmable four digit entry codes. Available in brass, bronze, and nickel finishes.
There’s nothing like a shop vac for cleaning up around the home. The SmartCart from Ridgid is a wet-dry vac mounted on a rolling cart complete with bins for storing the hose and attachments.
Cabinet manufacturers Merillat and Armstrong displayed beautiful cabinets with rollouts, as well as built-in ironing centers to make household chores a little easier.
If you would like to try your hand a pouring your own concrete countertops, Chang Concrete and Sakrete can supply you with everything you need from how-to books to concrete supplies.
Several new roofing products were on display including Cool Shingles from Owens Corning that reflect solar energy to reduce the temperature of your roof by up to 10 degrees. Bellaforté synthetic roof tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes have a self aligning design that speeds up installation while using a third less material.
For a truly unique look, check out Timberclad Bark Siding from Barkclad Natural Products made from real poplar bark that is both durable and low maintenance.
Easy Drop Ceiling
The Zip-Up Ceiling System is an easy to install drop ceiling made of PVC panels that are impervious to water.
Whole House Generators
Generac has a complete line of generators from portable units to whole house models. Models are available that can switch from LP to natural gas with the flip of a switch, and a remote control allows monitoring from inside your home.
Green products were everywhere at the Builders’ Show, including a new spray foam insulation from Icynene that’s made from caster oil.
The eco-friendly Electrolux Beam central vacuum system uses 10% less energy and is made from 70% recycled materials while the Vroom vacuum is perfect for quick clean ups.
If you’re concerned about the quality of your water, the PureOFlow whole-house water purification system uses reverse osmosis treatment to remove almost all foreign substances from water.
Efficient Water Heaters
Green guru, Ed Begley, Jr., was on hand to explain the high thermal efficiency rating of the Vertex water heaters from A.O. Smith.
For an inside look at the International Builders’ Show and more cool products, read Allen Lyle’s blog entry Top Picks from the 2009 International Builders’ Show.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Finishing Furniture Legs
To simplify finishing the legs on a chair or table, turn the piece of furniture over, and drill a pilot hole in the bottom of each leg. Now insert drywall screws in the holes, leaving an inch or so protruding to hold the legs up off the floor. Remove the screws once the finish has dried.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Husky Portable Work Light
This fluorescent work light from Husky is perfect for illuminating large areas. Simply unfold the legs, plug it in, and raise the shaft to turn on the light. It puts out the equivalent of a 300 watt incandescent bulb but uses much less energy. The Husky portable work light is available at The Home Depot.
Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
With the cost of energy on the rise, producing electricity from the sun is looking more and more promising. But while sunlight is free, it can cost $30,000 to $40,000 to convert a home to photovoltaic electric power. Until solar cells become more affordable, there are other solar options worth considering, including solar landscape lighting and solar hot water heaters.