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Wrap it up

BY HBSDEALER Staff

You can’t stop the weather, but you can sell a barrier.

The debate over the necessity of weather barriers is over — they’re necessary. But the question remains: Which barrier is best suited for any given project?

“A house needs some kind of drainage plane,” said Allison A. Bailes III, PhD., president and founder of Energy Vanguard, a building science consulting firm in Decatur, Ga. “A housewrap’s main purpose is to serve as a drainage plane. When water gets behind the cladding, it drains the water down. And a housewrap is only one of a number of products that can do that.”

Generally speaking, weather barriers permit water vapor transmission from inside the house, but they also prevent bulk water from penetrating the building envelope, the Upper Marlboro, Md.-based Home Innovation Research Labs writes on its website. If moisture is allowed to build up in the wall cavity or between building layers, it becomes a breathing ground for mold and rot.

Products such as Tyvek (spun-bonded poly-olefin) from DuPont and Typar by Fiberweb have become popular choices for many single-family and multi-family builders. The manufacturers tout the products as lightweight and easy-to-install options and extol the virtues of their performance as moisture and air barriers.

But those types of housewraps aren’t the only game in town. “Other options are felt, which some builders still use; foam board, which is used for exterior sheathing and, if taped properly, can be used as a drainage plane; and there are products like the Zip Wall System [from Huber Engineered Woods],” Bailes said.

In recent years, the weather barrier category has swollen with new introductions and technology, such as Weather Tex by Fortifiber Building Systems Group. The manufacturer claims the two-ply product is the industry’s first hybrid weather-resistive barrier.

The drainage plane on a home is important, and choosing a product or materials should not be taken lightly. Plus, builders and architects need to consider a range of issues, such as the cladding material to be used.

Other issues include the rise and fall of temperatures within a certain range, the type of wall assemblies and, most importantly, climate. “In general, water vapor moves from the warm side of building assemblies to the cold side of building assemblies,” writes Building Science Corp. “This is simple to understand, except we have trouble deciding what side of a wall is the cold or warm side. Logically, this means we need different strategies for different climates.” 

The final piece of the puzzle, of course, is proper installation. A drainage plane should be installed before windows and doors, and it should be installed in a shingle lap fashion and have enough space to drain moisture down and out to the exterior. Horizontal joints should be lapped at least 6 ins. and vertical joints should be lapped 6 ins. to 12 ins. All joints should be taped. 

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

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On the road

BY HBSDEALER Staff

It’s been a busy summer and fall for HCN: Its editorial staff was taken to many corners of the great United States in pursuit of emerging brands and game-changing products. We were happy to see many industry heavyweights at several of the big trade shows this year, as well as a few hidden gems in the home improvement aisle. From old favorites to promising newcomers, here are a few highlights from the reporter’s notebook.

Valspar Paint 

Seen in Orlando, Fla. (at the Ace Convention)

A star of the Ace Convention was Valspar, and its new deal to supply the co-op with paint, including Clark + Kensington. Valspar also factors heavily in Ace’s new $75 million Paint Studio initiative, launching in May 2014. (valsparpaint.com)

Rust-Oleum NeverWet

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

Pro tip: To stand out at your next market event, come up with a silver bullet for all moisture-related woes. NeverWet stakes its claim to fame via its ability to create a moisture-repelling barrier that protects metal, wood, aluminum, galvanized metal, PVC, concrete, masonry, asphalt, vinyl siding, fiberglass, canvas, most plastics and more. (rustoleum.com)

NyloBoard NyloDeck Wood Alternative

Seen in Nashville, Tenn. (at the ProDealer Industry Summit)

Nyloboard’s composite wood alternative was on display as a wood slab culminating in a snarl of carpet fiber. What’s the big idea? The wood alternative is actually made of recycled carpet fiber that resists rot, swelling, water, mold, mildew, termites and stains. (nyloboard.com)

Shop-Vac Tool Mate

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

It’s part wet-dry vac, part tool box. The Shop-Vac Tool Mate combines two functions in a single portable unit, and the vacuum detaches easily from the toolbox. All the hoses and accessories fit nicely in the lid. (shopvac.com)

Sunshine Mills Pet Food

Seen in Indianapolis (at the Do it Best Market)

A household name among the four-legged nationwide, Sunshine Mills was in attendance in Indianapolis, showcasing its farm and feed selections. These pet treats put a premium on nutrition, dental health and an absence of additives. (sunshinemills.com)

Makita Impact Gold bits

Seen in Las Vegas (at the STAFDA Trade Show)

The market was begging for a new gold standard in impact driving, and Makita answered with a collection of insert bits that are made to stand up to the increased power of high-torque impact drivers, last up to 10 times longer and provide superior fit. (makitatools.com)

Erickson Big Bed 

Seen in Marco Island, Fla. (at the DA/PRO Group Executive Planning Conference)

Thinking outside the box — or the truck bed — is best left to Erickson, which created the Big Bed for safer handling of extra-long loads. It extends 4 ft. from the receiver and can handle up to 400 lbs of distributed weight. (ericksonmfg.com)

DAP XHose Pro

Seen in Indianapolis (at the Do it Best Market)

No one appreciates an unwieldy hose, which made XHose Pro a surefire standout at Do it Best. The tough, multi-layered material — now with solid brass fittings — expands up to twice its length when water is turned on, only to contract back when the job is done. (xhosepro.com)

Delta Toilets

Seen in Indianapolis (at the Do it Best Market)

Delta has mastered the art of showcasing product technology. Touting WaterSense labels, SmartFit Tank-to-Bowl Connection, SmartFit Supply Line and even an EZ Out Toilet Removal Kit, the product was a new draw in Indianapolis. (deltafaucet.com)

Bissell Carpet Cleaners

Seen in Chicago (at the True Value Reunion)

Here to remind us that rentals aren’t just for tractors and heavy construction equipment, Bissell showed up at multiple markets to tout its carpet cleaners and their many surface options and specialized models. (bissell.com)

Hyde Tools Optimum Ellipse LS Paint Brush

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

The Optimum Ellipse is made with microfilament polyester to promote a smooth finish. The oval shape carries more paint than the standard shape, and increases brushing efficiency for most heavy-duty projects. (hydestore.com)

Wet & Forget 

Seen in New York City (at the IHA Affordable Innovation Event)

It’s exactly what it sounds like, only now in a much-demanded shower-safe product. Wet & Forget Indoor and Shower are designed to bring the same zero-effort mold and mildew reckoning to moisture-prone indoor spaces. (wetandforget.com)

Roxul Stone Wool 

Seen in Nashville, Tenn. (at the PDIS)

In what was arguably the hottest product display at PDIS, Roxul turned the flame onto its stone wool insulation in a bid to prove its unyielding fire resistance. Also water-repellant and sound-absorbent, the insulation features a high R-value and an uncommon resistance to environmental hazards. (roxul.com)

Kwikset Kevo

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

With Kevo, if your smartphone is in your pocket or purse, you can open the door by touching the lock with your finger. Even smarter: The homeowner can send an electronic eKey to a visitor. Smarter still: Kevo always knows when the phone is inside, so it won’t open for strangers. A key fob will also do the trick. (kwikset.com)

Nature’s Recipe Dog Food

Seen in Chicago (at the True Value Reunion)

Nature’s Recipe stakes its claim on being wise to natural ingredients before organic diets were adopted into the mainstream. Its dog and cat food eschews corn, wheat and artificial flavors for wholesome, protein-rich recipes. (naturesrecipe.com)

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Dateline Detroit: If you can make it here …

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Things are so bad in bankrupt Detroit that the city is considering selling the masterpieces in the Detroit Institute of Art.

So how are Motor City hardware stores dealing?

“We’ve been here for 89 years, so we’ve seen lots of ups and downs,” said Emily Webster, co-owner at Detroit Hardware Co. “That said, we definitely see signs of a comeback — Midtown and Downtown are actually kind of booming compared with some other struggling neighborhoods.”

Though this runs counter to a mainstream narrative that says the center city is getting the short end of the recovery stick, Webster’s testimony aligns with a sort of general-consensus view of the embattled metro: that the bounce-back of its housing market was only a matter of time, but it’s a tale of two cities when you consider that much of the recovery seems concentrated in certain neighborhoods.

Indeed, Webster cites a slight increase in sales, though not necessarily an increase in profit. Demand is certainly up for products required to fix up (and board up) homes. And though Detroit Hardware Co. customers come from all over the city, they are largely concentrated in the Midtown and Downtown areas, where rents have been rising of late and all kinds of new businesses have been cropping up.

Webster’s advice: “You have to be as friendly and as nice as you can to every single customer who comes in the store, and in this area of Detroit, you have to keep your sense of humor because we get all kinds of people. Some people think a mom-and-pop can close on the holidays; close whenever you need it to. You can’t treat it like that.”

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