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Labor solutions in Baltimore

New labor savers featured at 2018 Remodeling Show & DeckExpo.

BY Andy Carlo

BALTIMORE – Providing products that assist builders and contractors in combatting the skilled labor shortage was on the minds of many exhibitors at the 2018 Remodeling Show & DeckExpo.

Held here at the Baltimore Convention Center Oct. 9 – Oct. 11, manufacturers told HBSDealer that the contractors are having a tough time finding help, but vendors are creating more products that can reduce the timeline of jobs.

“We are helping the professional,” said Steve Kleber, representing SharkBite and Streamlabs, two of the plumbing brands owned by Reliance Worldwide Corporation.

While some of SharkBite’s latest products provide simple and quick solutions to plumbing and pipe connectivity issues, Kleber said the products are not for DIYers. And SharkBite doesn’t want its pro customers to think that way either.

“We want to support the trades,” Kleber said. “We help the professional to get off the job site quickly, and on to the next one, so they can make money.”

For GRK Fasteners, the promise of its new R4 Multi-Purpose Screws is the ability for pros to “frame with confidence and ease.” Ease being the key for a new fastener that features a fast-bite tip for faster screw starts.

At the Envision booth, the composite decking manufacturer touted some of the features of its product that can make installation faster and potentially more profitable for contractors and builders. Envision’s compression-molded construction and specially blended colors means no two Envision boards are the same and eliminates the need for contractors to sort boards or pre-lay the deck, saving time and money, according to TAMKO, the parent company of Envision Decking.

Labor saving aside, the venue provided a few hundred vendors the opportunity to jump start their contractor customers for the next season with an arsenal of new products.

Deckorators, the decking subsidiary of Universal Forest Products, featured new aluminum and stainless-steel railing systems along with its new Voyage decking line. The company also displayed its new “Picture Frame Board,” providing a crisp edge and frame for decks similar to a photo in a frame.

Chris Camfferman, director of category marketing at Universal Forest Products said the show allows the brand to get its customers prepared for the 2019 season.

“We want to launch products to the trades so they are ready and can launch products to their customers,” Camfferman told HBSDealer. “This is our audience.”

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