Awesome New Tools Seen at the 2016 International Builders Show (IBS)

The IBS is like the Super Bowl for us here at BCP. We love checking out the cool new building materials, the hi-tech hardware, and the funky new tools. Plus, it’s pretty tough not to have a blast in Vegas. The 2016 show did not disappoint. The following are just a few of the remarkable new products that caught our attention.

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Stronger Drywall

Here’s an upgrade your customers are going to love: CertainTeed’s Habito 1/2-in. drywall can support up to 30 lbs. per fastener. That means large TVs and storage shelving can be hung without using a stud finder or drywall anchors, which makes this product perfect for living areas and garage walls. Habito also blocks more sound than standard drywall and has a similar impact resistance as 5/8-in drywall without the extra weight. But the best feature of all—it can be scored and snapped unlike other specialty drywall. Ask your supplier about costs and availability.

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Clopay Insulated Doors

When it comes to insulation, the weak link in a heated garage has always been the garage door. For years, insulated garage doors only offered a few lousy Rs and a whole lot of cold. Now you can achieve R values as high as 20.4 with Clopay’s 3-layer, 2-in.-thick polyurethane foam insulated Intellicore garage door. That’s better than most insulated garage walls! This option is offered on several Clopay garage door models. Check them out at clopaydoor.com.

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Soft-Close Pocket Door

Does your next project include a pocket door installation? Impress your clients by installing Johnson Hardware’s new soft-close pocket door hardware. The soft-close mechanism grabs the door a few inches before it hits the stop and pulls the door fully open smoothly and silently. No more loud thuds and pinched fingers. It works similarly to soft-close kitchen drawers. Many existing pocket doors can be easily upgraded, as well. Order a kit from your millwork supplier, or check them out at jhusa.net. And like most of Johnson’s products, it’s made in the USA.

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Boral Expands Their Siding Line

If you’re not familiar with Boral TrueExterior…well, you should be. It’s an amazing product that has been around for several years now. It’s made from 70-percent recycled materials, mostly fly-ash, which is a byproduct of burning coal. It looks like wood, can be cut like wood, installed like wood and milled like wood. The main differences between Boral TrueExterior and wood are that the Boral product won’t wick water, which makes it safe for direct concrete and ground contact, and it eliminates the need for priming cut ends during installation. Nails and screws can be driven in right up to the edge without splitting or cracking.

It might make more sense to compare Boral trim to PVC trim except that Boral doesn’t expand and contract nearly as much, making glued joints unnecessary. Greater stability also improves paintability. Boral can be painted with all exterior paint suitable for wood.

Boral trim boards have been around for a while, but their siding line is relatively new. They now offer seven different profiles, as well as a line of beadboard. Boral TruExterior product will cost you more than wood, but less than PVC. Ask your lumberyard about it or check it out at boralamerica.com.

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A Cheap and Easy House Wrap

Kimberly-Clark has introduced a new house wrap that does just what a house wrap is supposed to do—it keeps bulk water from entering the house and it allows water vapor to escape. But wait, there’s more! Block-It has a texture that helps drain away any water that may get behind the siding. And installers are going to love it because it's easy to cut and can be installed with regular nails and staples, no plastic caps required. Maybe most surprising, unlike most new technologies, the price for Block-It is about the same if not lower than most other house wraps.

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Eliminate Floor Squeaks…Fast!

Every framer knows that fastening a subfloor with nails is a heck of a lot faster than screwing it down, but you can’t beat the strength of screws. Paslode has a new fastening system that blurs the lines of what we thought we knew about nails and screws. It’s called tetraGRIP. It’s a mean looking collated nail that has barbed helix threads that create rotation as the fastener enters the wood. It drives like a nail and holds like a screw, and it might be the fastest way to eliminate floor squeaks and expensive callbacks. Check them out at paslode.com.

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First PEX now PE-RT

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) plastic water pipes have been around since the 1980s and they’re more popular than ever. But now PEX has some competition from PE-RT, the new kid on the block. PE-RT (Polyethylene of Raised Temperature Resistance) is a plastic resin made by The Dow Chemical Company. There are currently three pipe companies manufacturing pipe with Dow’s PE-RT resin. PE-RT pipes can be used with most of the same connectors as PEX. They have many PEX-like properties, but they’re even more flexible, more resistant to chlorine and the coils have less memory so you don’t have to fight with as much coil reflex, which makes them easier to work with. PE-RT pipes cost about the same as PEX. You can find them at plumbing supply stores.

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Stone Silent

Filling wall cavities with bats of insulation and installing resilient channels before hanging drywall are simple and cost effective ways to soundproof a home. But before you order another batch of fiberglass, check out Roxul’s Safe’n’Sound stone wool insulation. It’s made mostly from basalt rock and recycled slag, which makes it denser than traditional sound bats. Higher density means less sound transmission.

In addition to sound reduction, Safe’n’Sound is resistant to water, rot, mold and mildew. It’s easy to cut and withstands temperatures up to 2,150 degrees F, so it can add another layer of fire protection and peace of mind for your customers. Roxul Safe’n’Sound can be purchased at home centers and lumberyards. One bag will cover 59.6 sq. ft. of 2x4 walls. Roxul also makes stone wool insulation for exterior walls.

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Lightweight Tile Backer Board

Hey, tilers! Check out your new favorite tile backer board, GoBoard from Johns Manville. It’s durable but weighs 80 percent less than conventional cement backer boards. That means you can haul several boards to the tiling site at the same time, by yourself! It also is a lot easier to cut and clean. Just like drywall, all you have to do is score the cutline with a utility knife, bend and snap. And it cuts so cleanly you can do it right in the room your working in instead of making a bunch of trips outside. GoBoard is sold at Lowe's and Menards home centers.