Building Products from the International Builders’ Show 2008

he 2008 International Builders’ Show had lots of innovative new products on display, including:

  • Mold resistant caulking from PolySeamSeal.
  • Simulated stone columns from Crane.
  • PVC deck railings by Trex.
  • Garage storage from Gladiator Garage Works.
  • Home power generators from Generac.
  • Polymer based jointing sand for paver patios from Quikrete.
  • Fold-up utility trailer for easy storage from Lifetime.
  • Magnetic window locks from JELD-WEN Windows & Doors.
  • Cordless tools with lithium-ion batteries from Ryobi.

Read episode article to find out more.

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re in Orlando, Florida to check out the International Builders’ show. This place is full of great new ideas, products and materials for building and improving your home, so get ready to start making a wish list for your place.

Here at the International Builders’ Show there’s hundreds and hundreds of booths for everything ranging from composite decking to water heaters, siding, windows, everything you need to improve your home.

Allen Lyle: Now, even though it’s no secret that new home construction is down, you may think that news like that would put a damper on an event like this.

Danny Lipford: But every time new construction goes down, the remodeling market gets hot and that’s what a lot of these companies are focusing on in their booths.

Allen Lyle: Now even though we’ve got three full days here, there’s no way we could see everything on this floor.

Danny Lipford: But we’ve got a little bit of a plan here, Allen’s going to start on one side of this big convention hall and I’ll start on the other and we’ll stop along the way to show you some really cool things to improve your home. Hey, let’s get started.

Allen Lyle: I’m ready.

Danny Lipford: Here’s a simple product that can make a big difference. This new tub and tile caulk from Polyseamseal is called Ever Bright and it’s been formulated to resist the growth and spread of mold up to 5 years. What bathroom couldn’t benefit from that?

Now to enhance the Bella Stone siding it introduced last year, Exterior Portfolio by Crane is introducing these cool architectural columns to enhance the outside of a home. To further reduce maintenance in the great outdoors, composite deck maker Trex is offering new deck systems composed mostly of PVC, which offer better resistance to scratches, stains and even fires.

For similar durability inside, the folks at Plastpro are showing a wainscoting made from prefinished vinyl planks, great for a kitchen full of kids.

Allen Lyle: A lot of the things we’re seeing at IBS this year have to do with organization, especially when it comes to organizing in the garage and Gladiator Garage Works has long been a forerunner when it comes to garage organizing.

Look at all the cool stuff they have. The cabinets, baskets, bins, paper towel holders, even the flooring is from Gladiator. Check this out, you can have five different colors, mix and match, very easy to interlock and put them together. They even have these channels here to allow for any water drainage.

But I have to show you what my favorite item is and it is strictly because of the cool factor. Here’s their bicycle storage device right up top. Ready for this? Watch how easy this is. One bump, it’s in place and it comes down just as easily. You know there is so much here at IBS to see and it just dawned on me that this might be the way to see it.

Right next door in the Amana exhibit, there are two great family fridge ideas. One has a can dispenser built right into the door, so your favorite soda is always in reach. The other, called Jot, is a great twist on the refrigerator as a message center concept. The whole thing is wrapped in dry erase board material, talk about instant messaging.

Now to make emergency power more affordable, the folks at Generac are introducing a new low cost, 20-kilowatt, standby generator. For real economy, their new gen-ready load center allows any new home to be prewired for a standby system. So, folks on a tight budget can add the generator later.

Danny Lipford: Boy, there is just so much to see at a show like this, but some products really stand out, like the SmartKey from Kwikset. Now, Allen, I saw this over at the Kwikset booth. Is it really as simple as they say?

Allen Lyle: Look, I just learned how to do it and it is that simple. Let me show this.

Danny Lipford: OK give me a little demo, here.

Allen Lyle: Here’s the key that works, all right. Half a turn, we are going to take the tool in the slot, all the way in, remove it, take the old key out, here’s the new key. Put it in place, turn it 180 degrees, and Danny it’s done, that’s it. Here is the old key, it doesn’t work anymore.

Danny Lipford: Wow. I guess you can eliminate a lot of the keys that everybody carries around and just have the one. That is pretty neat.

Allen Lyle: It is, and here’s another great thing. Actually, you’ve heard of lock bumping?

Danny Lipford: Oh yeah you hear a lot about that.

Allen Lyle: This is designed so that you cannot do that, it’s got bump guard technology.

Danny Lipford: Wow. It’s pretty simple, and speacking of simple, here’s our Simple Solution of the week.

Joe Truini: Everyone knows the importance of mixing paint really well before you apply it to the wall or ceiling and this is how most do-it-yourselfers mix paint, with a paint stick.

But here’s a better, more effective way, and it’s a paint stirrer you can pick up at any home center for three or four dollars, and you chuck it into a drill and you mix the paint. Now, the problem, of course, is if you are not really careful, you can get more paint on yourself than you will ever get on the walls.

I’ve discovered a really quick and easy way to do this and it is very neat. You won’t get paint anywhere, but keep it all in the can.

You get an extra lid, and I drilled a hole in the lid slightly larger than the shaft on the mixer. Then, you just put it on, put the lid on the can, tap it down, then chuck the end of the mixer onto a drill.

Now, when you mix it, it is very important to go all the way down to the bottom and then to the top. Mix up the entire can of paint. It only takes a few seconds, here I’ll show you. Now, this tip can work really well for any interior or exterior paint or even stain. When you pop this off, now that was just 10 or 15 seconds, you see how well it got mixed, so you can imagine after two or three minutes or so.

Danny Lipford: This week we are at the International Builders’ Show here in Orlando and we’ve looked at all kinds of products for the home, but a lot of companies feature ideas for your home, just like this one here at Merillat Cabinets.

Now, what they’ve done is some research that identifies four different types of families and the kitchens that they really want.

The first one is called the career builders. Now the Career builders are more interested in building their career than building the perfect meal. Their kitchen – very simplistic , kind of high-end materials so that they get the resale value they need when they are ready to sell that home.

The next one is what we call the busy bees. Now the busy bees probably do less cooking and more dining out or takeout food and they tend to be a little more disorganized, so a lot of the features in this kitchen is intended to get them a little more organized and the kitchen just looks great.

The next kitchen is one called the entertainer. You know, all of us know that cook that loves the gourmet meals and they love to have everybody in their kitchen when they are preparing those meals. They also like a very unique look to their kitchen. You can see the different finishes that were used here and the wonderful little cooking space, very spacious, great looking kitchen.

Now, the next one is one that maybe most of you can relate to, called the domestic dweller. This is a real family kitchen where a lot of activity here, people eating at the bar, the cook preparing all of the meals. And a lot of the features here in this kitchen were designed just to make the kitchen work a little smoother for that family.

Now, you should see all of the videos that Merillat has on their website that illustrates the different types of families that would use these type of kitchens. Kind of check it out and see which category you fit in.

Speaking of categories, this single product from Dow covers three of them. It acts as sheathing, insulation, and vapor barrier for the outside of a home. Reducing both the material and the labor cost of construction.

To seal contaminants, like lead, out of your household water, the engineers at Delta Faucets have developed what they call Diamond Seal Technology. When water enters the faucet, it’s insulated from any contact with metal, and a diamond embedded ceramic disc within the valve constantly removes mineral deposits, so that it will operate leak free up to 10 times longer than the industry standard.

Allen Lyle: A lot of the products we are seeing at IBS this year are actually old ideas made better, and here is a great example. We’ve got a wonderful display of brick pavers. It’s an easy project to do, but the problem is, of course, that it is very labor intensive, and you do not want to forget the last step, and that is locking those pavers in place.

Traditionally, you can just use some sand, through it in place and let that be your locking agent. The problem is, the first rain comes along, it washes out of the way. So, you can take some sand with a cement base, and that’s been very traditional as well. Again, you put it in place, sweep it around, wet it down, and let it dry.

Now, here’s the problem. As it dries, it becomes brittle. It will crack as well. Also, if you don’t really wash those bricks well, you are going to have that grey haze all over those bricks for several days.

So here is what Quikrete has come up with. They’ve got a polymer-based sand. And again, it is that simple of just putting the sand in place, sweeping it into the cracks and crevices, and then just a very light misting. That will actually lock it into place.

As it dries, it will flex with the earth below, it will never crack. And, when it’s down there, you’re done, and you can walk away. Speaking of walk away, there’s a lot more to see here and I’m going to check it out.

This utility trailer from Lifetime is another cool development for the do-it-yourselfer, because with a few turns of a crank, it folds up into less that half its size for easier storage.

For the pros, the folks at Louisiana Pacific are rolling out a product called Solid Start LSL, or Laminated Strand Lumber. The thin wood strands that form the material run parallel to its length giving it exceptional strength.

Danny Lipford: One of the things we see at shows like this every year, is where companies will take a simple product and tweak it a little bit to make it work a little better for the homeowners. Here is a good example of it.

You know, the exhaust fan for the bathroom has been around a long time and at some point, someone added a light to it. That was a good idea. And then, later on, heat elements were added to this type of unit to provide a little bit of heat in your bathroom. You may have one of those in your bathroom. The problem is the heat goes straight down and that may not be where you want that heat.

Well, Broan-NuTone has solved that problem with this unique unit. This is a vent, light, and heat unit; but here’s what’s unique. Same unit here is where you are able to take a slotted screwdriver and just adjust that heat exactly where you want it. You know these kind of innovations just make it a little more comfortable for homeowners.

But energy efficiency is important, too. So this company is also introducing the first Energy Star rated kitchen vent hood in the U.S. market. Now, not only does the fan motor have to be efficient, so does the light. So they worked with fluorescent bulb manufacturers to develop one that generated the perfect color temperature for the cook top.

Hey, while we are checking out the new products here at the show, why don’t you check out the ones that are already in the home center with Emilie.

Emilie Barta: As long as we are talking about the builder’s show, I want to focus on a fabulous product we saw there last year. As often as the case, things we see at IBS make their way to you, the consumer, as soon as possible. And here is a great example.

It’s the SmartScan biometric lock from Kwikset that takes technology to the next level by making your fingerprint your access key. With this lock, you control who has access to you home on three different levels.

First, you have continuous access for you and your family members. Second, you can grant temporary access for contractors or repairmen. Third, you can create restricted access for specific times and days of the week, such as for housekeepers or babysitters.

To install it, all you need is a standard Phillips screwdriver and four Double AA alkaline batteries—so no hard wiring. It is very easy to program, and you can put up to 50 unique fingerprint users in its memory. It has durable low power consumption, installs in minutes, and comes in a variety of finishes.

No more worrying about lost or loaned keys. And since it comes from Kwikset, you can fell secure in the quality, too.

Danny Lipford: One of the things I love about the International Builders’ Show is running into some good friends like Gail Butler, Editor in Chief of Better Homes and Gardens. Boy, there is so much to see around here. I know you have really been hitting the aisles of the show real hard. What are you finding?

Gail Butler: You know, Danny, I am seeing so many innovations for the laundry room, which is fantastic because that is a specialty space that women really want a separate, convenient laundry room.

Danny Lipford: Sure.

Gail Butler: And, we are seeing a lot of innovations in technology and design. You know these front loader washers and dryers—so efficient. The washer uses much less water and that is just terrific. And look at the storage system, women today really like things organized and a place for everything.

This system has, look at that, a pullout rod for the clothes you need to dry, storage for all of your laundry detergent, and the finishes match so you get that great put-together look. And there is even a work surface up here where you can fold clothes, or treat stains. So, you have everything you need right here in one sleek system.

Danny Lipford: It’s pretty nice that it is raised up like that, even more storage underneath.

Gail Butler: Absolutely.

Danny Lipford: It really makes a lot of sense. It really doesn’t look like the laundry rooms I remember, you know years ago.

Gail Butler: Oh and you should see all of the colors that are here. Have you noticed there are great green’s and blues? Really beautiful finishes that make the laundry room feel a little bit more stylish. I like seeing that.

Danny Lipford: Sure, and the technology, you know, to be able to improve the function and you know the energy efficiency, all of that really makes a big difference over all.

Gail Butler: You bet, some fantastic things going on. Steam being introduced into a lot of the washers and dryers, so that, you know, if you have a sweater you just want to freshen up. You put it in the dryer, you get a steam treatment, gives it a little more life.

Also seeing some systems that dispense your soap and your detergent and your softener automatically, so you just fill them up once and it measures out how much is needed automatically. You don’t have to deal with all that mess. That’s very nice.

So lots going on in the laundry and that’s one of those little life tasks that we like to be simpler and more stylish and that is what we are seeing here at the show.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, without a doubt. Now, maybe they can figure out a way to get it to fold some clothes. You know my wife’s birthday is coming up, I wonder about this for a gift idea?

Gail Butler: I think she would like it, but I would also send some flowers.

Danny Lipford: If you want to extend that designer look to your floors, walls and counters, check out this new line of porcelain stone tiles from Crossville, called building blocks.

They teamed with Architect Robert A.M. Stern to create a unique collection of three distinctive patterns, and a coordinating solid in nine different colors that are a beautiful blend of classic and contemporary.

Now, speaking of colors, pros and do-it-yourselfers alike will appreciate the new Resilience line of paint from Sherwin-Williams, because it dries in half the time of ordinary paint, which should take some of the weather worries out of painting chores.

Every year at this show there is quite an assortment of windows. How would this one look in your living room? Actually, I don’t even think the walls in my house are tall enough to accommodate a unit like this, but it looks great.

But you know what is really innovative about this window, is something you can’t even see. Embedded inside the frame of this screen is a magnet and another magnet here. The result is a nice way to keep a screen on a casement window like this closed all of the time.

And, you don’t have any type of hardware that would take away from the sleek look of a wood unit like this. Now another thing that JELD-WEN has done with magnets is embedded another magnet inside the frame of their single hung windows that allows it to lock automatically when you close the window. What a great security measure for your home.

For security of a different kind, the folks here at JELD-WEN are also showing doors and windows made with AuraLast. This is their unique vacuum pressure wood treatment process that protects the wood through and through. And not just on the surface. That means that last minute trimming and nail or screw holes won’t open up the wood to decay, once it is out in the weather.

Now the pros who install these doors and windows love cordless tools. And Ridgid has made them more flexible with their Max Select tool system, which lets you power them with a variety of different batteries from 18 to 24 volt. For all you do-it-yourselfers, Allen found a similar solution.

Allen Lyle: One of the things I love at IBS is the chance to put my hands on all the new tools. Apparently so does everybody else, because it is chaotic here at the Ryobi booth.

You know, when it comes to convenience you can’t beat a cordless tool and the buzzwords of cordless today are lithium-ion batteries. Here’s the reason why. A lithium-ion battery, just like this one from Ryobi, this is their new line— 20% lighter, makes a difference when you’re holding a tool all day.

It will hold that charge. You can use it two times longer. Even when you are not using the tool, sitting on the shelf, it will hold it four times longer. And talk about the durability and drive of these things. Fabulous! Now, if you are in the market for new tools, definitely this is what you want.

Let’s suppose, though, that you do not need a new tool, and sure enough if you have one of the older tools, look at this, it is interchangeable. Now you have upgraded your old tool with a lithium-ion battery.

We have covered a lot here at IBS so far and we have got a lot more to come. You may have a few questions, I would invite you to check out our website at

Speaking of questions, let’s check out one of yours to Danny right now.

Angela: Hey Danny, I like granite in my kitchen , but it is not in my budget. Is there a cheaper alternative?

Danny Lipford: The old world look of natural stone is more popular than ever in kitchens today. But people often ask, how can they create this look on a budget. The answer may be in the new generation of laminate countertops that mimics the look of stone surfaces at a much lower price. These finishes are known by different names, depending on the manufacturer, but you will find them listed as honed, etched, or textured surfaces.

Subtle indentations and crevices create the illusion of real stone, not only to the eye, but to the touch as well. Coupled with the combination of a matte and polished finish, together, they can create a kitchen with a very rich look on a shoestring budget.

Of course, the brand, color and edge treatment you choose will make a big difference in the price. But on the average, these laminates will cost 50-65% less than a true stone surface.

OK Allen, how are those feet holding up there?

Allen Lyle: I tell you, given the fact that I feel like I have walked 10 or 15 miles everyday, not too bad. But we sure have seen some great stuff here.

Danny Lipford: But you know you also feel a lot of optimism here in terms of the housing, and the economy ahead, and that’s certainly very encouraging. I am glad to see it, I am glad to see all of these people around here.

Allen Lyle: Given all the activity, I am hoping that we will see it pick up quite a bit.

Danny Lipford: Hey, we have seen a lot of great products, but we have a lot more information about those products and other products that we have gathered information on our website at

I’m Danny Lipford. Allen Lyle. We will see you next week here on Today’s Homeowner.

Allen Lyle: Roller skates. Roller skates.

Danny Lipford: Ready for spring? Next week its deck building time. If you would like to purchase a DVD copy of this week’s show, visit our website at, or call us at 1-800-946-4420.


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