15 Favorites from the 2010 International Builders’ Show

If you were to judge my trip to the 2010 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas by the picture of me below, then it had to be good! And, the truth of the matter is, that picture speaks the truth! I mean, come on, Elvis on one side and a Las Vegas showgirl on the other, what more could you ask for?

Aside from the entertainment factor, his year’s show was absolutely spectacular. After spending four days on the show floor, I had a chance to compile a list of 15 products that really stood out to me. However, as is always the case, I’m quite certain there are dozens of other worthy products that I simply didn’t get the chance to review. Nonetheless, these “fifteen faves” are definitely deserving!

I’m listing them in alphabetical order, because I don’t see any one product as being better than another. I would encourage you to check out each of these products’ web sites, too, for further information.

Alum-A-Pole Hand Bendable Seamless Flashing

When it comes to flashing, builders have typically used aluminum. The only problem is when you install it against treated lumber or some fiber cement boards, the aluminum can corrode. Go ahead and ask me about the columns in front of my house. They were wrapped in aluminum and within a couple of months, it looked like someone poured acid on them.

You also have to use a brake to bend the aluminum to shape as you dispense it from the roll. This new vinyl Pro-Trim flashing was pretty amazing. It comes in 25′ and 50′ rolls that can be bent by hand and won’t corrode.

Basement Technologies Water Trek Aqua Route

We’ve had several questions on our radio program, Homefront, about problems with water seeping into basements. Of course, if it wasn’t sealed properly from the outside, it’s difficult to find a good solution. There are many good water sealers on the market, but few really offer a permanent solution. Personally, I don’t believe there is a “paint-it-on-and-forget-it” solution out there.

This Water Trek system, however, was impressive. It works with any water problem and footing configuration in the basement, and it’s had some really good reviews by independent research and testing companies. Since it’s an installation-type product, there’s a lot more involved than just slapping on a coat of elastomeric; but, given the peace of mind it can bring, this one is worth checking out.

Beam EasyReach Retractable Vacuum Hose

It’s pretty much an industry standard for central vac hoses to be 30′ long, but it can be a royal pain trying to roll them up for storage. This new hose from Beam (an Electrolux division) starts out at only 13′ long. One twist and you can extend the hose to 30′.

Then, when you’re ready to store it away, simply touch a button and the vacuum pressure literally sucks the hose back into place! It took me about 15 seconds to master the art of retraction, too. I don’t have a central vacuum system in my home, but if I did . . . this would be a part of it!

Bluegate Inc. Floating Glass Shelves

This one qualifies for my “You-Gotta-Be-Kidding-Me” Award. You’ve got these 1/4″ tempered glass plates mounted on the wall with absolutely no hardware whatsoever. All you see is glass . . . nothing else. Top that with the fact that these little gems hold up to 100 pounds!

The secret is in the tongue and groove system of the glass plates. You simply notch your wall (regardless of the material), run a bead of paintable adhesive caulking (no silicone!), insert the glass and sponge away the excess caulk. Lots of applications for these shelves, various sizes are available, and they look stunning!

Bosch GTL3 Hybrid Line Laser

If this tool was a dog, it could very likely win Best of Show! (That had to make Barbara Walters very proud.) There’s so much to describe in the design of this laser that I would take up way too much space on this article.

The fact of the matter is that it’s the perfect toolbox companion for anyone who has a tile floor or wall tile project. It projects sharp, visible layout lines at 0°, 45°, 90° and 135° and it’s accurate to within 1/16″ at 20 feet. Be sure to look at all the features listed at their site online.

Broan-NuTone Recessed Fan Light

The new design of this recessed fan light is what sets it apart. I got to see it in action, and the fact that it operates automatically and—here’s the really cool part—only costs about $1 per year in energy consumption definitely increases the Wow-Factor.

In addition to the new recessed fan light, they’ve re-designed the lens assembly on their other bath fans to have the most amazingly bright light you’ve ever seen in a vent fan.

Hafele Omni Track System

I’ve seen some storage systems similar to this one, but the extruded aluminum backing (as opposed to plastic) makes this the storage system of choice. It’s lightweight, durable, and very easy to install. The hanging hooks and bins are also a snap to put into place.

It is a bit more pricey than some systems, but you know the old saying . . . you get what you pay for. The Omni Track will be hanging around a lot longer than the plastic systems; and, in the long run, that’s where you’ll save some money.

H-P Products Vroom Garage Vac

The Vroom Garge Vac from H-P Products doesn’t hit the market until June 2010, but I think it’s going to be very popular when it does. It hooks up to the central vacuum system in your home, has a 24′ retractable hose, and (unlike other garage vacuums) it doesn’t take up a single square inch of precious floor space.

The ceiling mounted system makes it ideal for practically any garage out there, and it can help clean up everything from your car to the workbench to the floor.

Johnson’s Tool Company Saw Guard Dog

This is, by far, one of the most practical tool accessories I saw on the floor. What I first liked is that the booth wasn’t manned by pitchmen. These were honest-to-goodness carpenters who were out in the trenches.

The Saw Guard Dog is an add-on piece to your circular saw that, with the push of a button, will lift your guard out of the way for better visibility. But, since the “dog” is doing the dirty work, your fingers never come close to the blade. I think OSHA must be in love with these guys. Two sizes are available and, if you’re as guilty as I am about lifting that guard every time you cut, you need to grab one right away.

Lennox SunSource Home Energy System

Lennox has been a long-time industry leader in HVAC systems. Heck, just look at how long ol’ Dave Lennox has been around. I swear, he hasn’t aged a day. He was born in 1855, but I saw him at the show.

This new SunSource system is going to debut in May 2010, and it uses solar modules to help offset the cost of operation. You can start with one panel or have up to fifteen. It all depends on your personal needs or aesthetic desires. You can also monitor the whole thing online and check out how much you’re saving or look at the carbon offset. Also, with some of the federal and state solar tax credits available, now would be a good time to make the sunny switch.

Perfect Products DoorSaver II

Necessity is the mother of invention. That tells the whole story of this product. The inventor was having a tough time with his daughter always damaging either the door or the casing with those flimsy little hinge stops.

The unique design of the DoorSaver II allows you to make your existing door hinge a hinge stop. What’s really amazing is the fact that it works without ever touching your door, the wall, casing or baseboard. It’s new, so it may not be readily available just yet, but it’s going to be the new standard, I believe.

RIDGID Fuego Compact Cordless Combo Kit

Guys like me love tools, but it’s always tough picking out just one. So, when I got the chance to look over the 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Fuego Combo Kit . . . well, let’s just say it’s like taking Gandhi to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I love these new designs. The One Handed Reciprocating Saw was particularly impressive. With the additional incentive of affordable price points, RIDGID has got a real winner here.

Ryobi Tek4 Cordless Tools

Here’s another tool group that’s hard to nail down a single item. Ryobi’s new Tek4 line was introduced earlier, but they have a lot of new stuff coming out soon, including the Tek4 Solar Portable Power that will hit the shelves in June 2010.

When you consider that it will recharge any mobile phone or other electronic device for only $99.97, it’s a pretty good deal. It will also feature an internal battery pack where energy can be stored so you have recharging power anytime, anywhere. This particular item will be exclusive to The Home Depot.

Sommer Garage Door Opener

The tagline for this opener is, “No Maintenance. No Noise. No Kidding!” When you actually see and hear it in action, you’ll understand. This is one of the coolest garage door openers I’ve ever seen.

Aside from the fact that the chain never moves (so no problems with sagging, breakage, etc.), you’re not limited to a center installation. You can mount this on the side of the garage door and regain any overhead space. It’s got a lifetime warranty on the operator and is fully-compliant with the 1993 Garage Door Opener Safety Law.

Velux No-Leak Skylight

You’re probably saying what I did, “Yeah, right.” A no-leak skylight is about as possible as a snowball in you-know-where. But, I have to admit, with three years of research, development, and testing . . . the folks at Velux may just have figured out how to keep the devil in snow cones.

The new skylight has a third layer of water protection, so in addition to the underlayment and the flashing, you have an added seal between the frame and the roof deck. The demo I saw was convincing, and if they’re confident enough to put it in writing…well, that says a lot. This isn’t your daddy’s old plastic bubble skylight. Welcome to 2010.

Keep in mind that not all of these products are available just yet, but they will be before the end of the year. Be sure to visit the web sites, which you can get to by clicking on the name of each product above. Just tell ’em, “Allen sent you.”


  1. As a matter of fact, Roy….I would agree with you. I love the Stiletto! I’ve never used a hammer that’s better than that one and their new pry bars are equally impressive! I had a chance to put the Stiletto hammer at the very top of my picks from last year’s IBS. I keep looking for one to show up at my door as a gift from Danny, but…..

  2. Though the Sawguard Dog addresses the issue of “Pinning your guard” which is not only dangerous, but will receive a $14,000 OSHA fine. OSHA however has an issue with the “dog” due to a couple problems. One you have to push the plunger in and expose the blade in order for your finger to reach the trigger. Two because it is solidly attached to the lower guard, whether you want to use it or not the plunger will go back and forth when the guard engages the wood.
    The OSHA standard requires the guard to close immediately upon releasing the thumb lever, which is probably arguabile with OSHA. I wish him well with his invention as it only helps mine: the3rdhand.com


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