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Winners Circle

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Every year, select brands in the home improvement and building product distribution channel are recognized for the value they bring to the industry. Accolades range from prestigious awards — including HCN’s own Golden Hammer and David Weekley’s coveted “A,A” Partner of Choice — to recognition in the press or high-profile events like the National Hardware Show. In honor of all of 2013’s high performers, here are some that are representative of this year’s batch of overachievers.

Rheem Prestige Series Condensing Tankless Water Heater

Rheem: David Weekley Partner of Choice

The heating and cooling systems manufacturer was one of this year’s newest “A,A” ranking entrants, earning an “A” for both quality and service. Rheem’s tank-type and tankless water heaters crank up the energy-efficiency standards of David Weekley’s EnergySaver homes.

Fireclay Tile

RBPT’s “Awesome Products Made in the USA”

Locally made, environmentally responsible and aesthetically pleasing, Fireclay Tile was named one of Residential Building Products & Technology’s “Awesome Products Made in the USA.” The company’s products are often made from recycled materials and are handmade in San Jose, Calif.

GAF

WomenCertified Women’s Choice Awards

The universal appeal of GAF’s residential and commercial roofing products was certainly appreciated by its female customers in 2013. GAF’s client-centric business model means more attention to customers, a leading value proposition for WomenCertified.

Apex Tool Group

An Ace Hardware “Vendor of the Year”

Apex Tool Group, based in Sparks, Md., was one of seven vendors to receive a vendor award from Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware for commitment and service during its 2013 Spring Convention in New Orleans. Representative of the company’s products is the Crescent X6 seven-piece combination wrench set with “Rapid Ratcheting” action. The packaging hammers home the functionality.

Grillbot

Best Product Launch Awards, Gold Award

The National Hardware Show is typically a prominent venue for new product launches, but it seems like the Grillbot was everyone’s darling this year. The automatic grill-cleaning robot — an R2D2 for the grill, as some say — wowed viewers with its innovative ease of use.

Moen

Golden Hammer Award, Plumbing Fashion and Fixtures

Moen has memorably positioned itself as the faucet one buys for looks (and life). This savvy branding didn’t fall on deaf ears at the 2013 National Hardware Show, where Moen received a Golden Hammer Award for its design and lasting value.

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Reading R-values

BY HBSDEALER Staff

When it comes to specifying insulation, the type of product isn’t really an issue as far as the building codes are concerned. The codes don’t really care.

Go to any website that shows required insulation levels by Climate Zone, and you won’t find recommendations for foam over batts, or batts over cellulose. Instead, you’ll see target R-values. It’s the builder’s job to select the materials to hit that target, balancing budgets with preferences.

Foam offers superior penetration, air sealing and labor savings because there is no added work required to do air sealing, but it comes at a price. Batts cost less than foam on a square-foot basis, but if you have sloppy or expensive labor, those savings are quickly eaten up by having to redo the work that’s been installed incorrectly.

When choosing from among insulation types, a batt’s a batt, right? Not quite. A survey of insulation manufacturers — Johns Manville, Knauf, CertainTeed, Owens Corning and Icynene — shows that companies are highlighting the differences as they aim to win business. Here are some of the differentiation categories:

Recycled content: Many batt manufacturers include recycled content into their labels. Just 30% recycled content meets EPA guidelines. Knauf’s EcoBatt insulation Glass-wool boasts a 61.9% recycled content.

Binder: Binders are all formaldehyde-free now, and acrylic binders are now common. Knauf said its Ecose binder technology reduces its embodied energy by 70%, with no phenol, formaldehyde, acrylics or artificial colors.

Mold: Both ASTM and UL offer anti-mold standards for insulation. Johns Manville treats it with an EPA-registered preservative. Owens Corning applies a biocide to its QuietR duct board.

Smart membranes: CertainTeed’s Dry-Right batts feature MemBrain Smart Vapor Retarder & Air Barrier Film, a vapor retarder that changes permeability based on humidity.

Physical flame and fire retarders: The hot thing in fire protection today is intumescent coatings, used for foams, not batts. An intumescent coating swells with high heat, increasing its volume but decreasing its density, which can delay or even prevent ignition. Building codes rate un-faced batts as noncombustible. Still, Johns Manville FSK-25 faced batts offer a foil-scrim-Kraft facing that yields a 25/50 fire hazard classification.

Foams: Today’s foam manufacturers differentiate by their sustainable and green attributes, not by their R-value per inch, which is largely dictated by the physical properties of the foam. Look for foams without PDBE, a chemical flame retardant that is a bio-accumulative toxin.

GreenFiber

This blow-in natural fiber insulation is engineered for use in wall and attic retrofit projects. 
(greenfiber.com)

Knauf Insulation

EcoFill Wx is an unbounded glass wool blowing insulation with post-consumer recycled content.
(knaufinsulation.us)

Owens Corning

EcoTouch fiberglass insulation for exterior wall cavities is easier to cut and split with less dust. (owenscorning.com)

Johns Manville

The company’s faced batts and rolls fiberglass insulation are lightweight and offer thermal and acoustical performance. Products are bonded with a formaldehyde-free binder to promote better indoor air quality and come in a variety of R-values. (jm.com)

Download the “Residential Building Products and Technology” app for your iPad.Or visit ResBuildMag.com.

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Trex settles mold lawsuit in California

BY HBSDEALER Staff

At a cost capped at $8.25 million plus attorney’s fees, Trex Co. is settling a California lawsuit connected to mold in an early version of its decking product.

Trex, the largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, said the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted preliminary approval of a settlement agreement that will resolve a nationwide class action lawsuit filed in California alleging problems in Trex’s first-generation composite products relating to mold growth and color issues.

To claimants, Winchester, Va.-based Trex will provide cash payment or the opportunity to receive other relief, including a rebate certificate on its newer-generation shelled products — Trex Transcend and Trex Enhance.

“Our decision to settle the case is by no means an admission of any of the allegations made by the plaintiffs,” said Ronald Kaplan, chairman, president and CEO of Trex. “Trex has steadfastly denied any liability, and we were fully prepared to defend our position. We strongly believe we would have prevailed; however, we settled on terms that we feel benefit both our consumers and Trex.”

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