The 2009 International Builders’ Show had some great innovative tools and products for your home, including:
- Hidden deck fastener system by Tiger Claw.
- Titanium hammers from Stiletto Tools.
- Reciprocating saw scraper from Simple Man Products.
- Wood Magnet level by Swanson Tools.
- SoniCrafter oscillating tool from Rockwell.
- SmartCode deadbolt locks by Kwikset.
- Kitchen cabinets from Merillat.
- Concrete countertops by Chang Concrete.
- Cool roof shingles from Owens Corning.
- Whole house generators by Generac.
- Vertex hot water heaters from A. O. Smith.
Read episode article to find out more.
Danny Lipford: This week Today’s Homeowner is on the road at the International Builders’ Show and we’re digging up tons of great new stuff for you home. So stay put, you can’t miss this one.
This year the International Builders’ show is being held at the Las Vegas convention center, and the setting couldn’t be more perfect. Well, what do you think about this weather here in January, and everybody is sitting outside?
Allen Lyle: Yeah, but a lot of good it’s going to do us, we’re going to be inside for three days.
Danny Lipford: Now, I wonder if the attendance is really going to be down? Everybody talking about the economy keeping people away.
Allen Lyle: Look at all the people here though! I don’t know it looks pretty crowded.
Danny Lipford: The National Association of Homebuilders, the organizers of this show, estimates that about 60,000 people will visit the displays in the three different exhibit halls that make up this expo. Now, that number is down a little bit from previous years; but in light of the sluggish economy, it’s still a very good turnout.
These building professionals aren’t resting while things are slow, they’re actively working to improve themselves and their businesses. One of the ways they’re doing that is by finding a few new tools that can make the job a lot easier, but do-it-yourselfers love them, too.
Allen Lyle: I haven’t been at the show very long, but I have seen a recurring thing already. Not so many new products, as it is a new twist on an old product. But, when you can get a new twist on an old product with a new product, the cool factor just went off the charts.
This is from Tiger Claw, I want to show you this. For years Tiger Claw has had the hidden deck fastener and really if you can put a deck down with these it’s the best way to do it. Particularly if you’re talking about a composite deck. However, the new tool, this is their new deck gun using ballistic nail screws. Watch how quickly this goes into place. Christmas has just come early.
Speaking of Christmas, I found some hammers at the Stiletto Titanium Tools booth that I’m putting on my wish list for next year. These things are great.
Stiletto Titanium Tools Representative: This is our bread and butter tools that put us on the map. Now, this is 14 ounces that equates to 24 in punch.
Allen Lyle: Just because of the titanium?
Stiletto Titanium Tools Representative: Well, because we have so much more performance because you’re not having a loss of power due to recoil from the steel.
Allen Lyle: Right.
Stiletto Titanium Tools Representative: So you’re getting more power to the nails.
Allen Lyle: And this is what I needed for the nail driving contest right there. That’s amazing.
Besides that magnetic nail starter, this model also has a cool new nail pulling feature built right in.
Stiletto Titanium Tools Representative: This is significant. This is our side puller so this time don’t drive the nail all the way down and leave it about a quarter-inch high and we’ll pull it with the side puller.
Allen Lyle: A quarter inch?
Stiletto Titanium Tools Representative: Quarter inch.
Allen Lyle: All right.
Stiletto Titanium Tools Representative: OK, now hook it, and come over one smooth motion. There you go. Now that you’ve got it go all the way over. Ever pull out a nail that easy?
Allen Lyle: Never. Look at that.
At over 200 bucks apiece, they’re pricey; but man do they perform.
If you’re removing something more like construction adhesive or vinyl flooring the guys at Simple Man Products have come up with something they call the Spyder Scraper. It attaches to a regular reciprocating saw just like an ordinary saw blade, but is it really better than the old fashioned way?
All right, ever the skeptic. I think I can beat Tim, there’s no way you’re going to beat me. Are you ready?
Tim: I’m ready.
Allen Lyle: On your mark, get set, go. Go, go! He’s cheating! The batteries went down. I don’t know.
In remodeling if you’re making dust, you have to control it. This ZipWall system is the way to go. These poles clamp tightly over your plastic dust barrier and then telescope up to hold it right against the ceiling without any nails or staples. Plus you can access the work area with a handy zip up doorway.
Over at the Swanson booth, Danny is checking out a new level that solves some pretty common problems.
Swanson Representative: And it’s hard to hold it and nail at the same time. So what we have here with the Swanson Wood Magnet is it clips on, friction fit, tack the bottom, just go ahead and plumb it with the ball in there like any typical level, and tack the top.
Allen Lyle: Essentially it turns any standard piece of two by lumber into a level. Pretty cool. But so is this belt clip notepad that flips open so you can easily jot down those measurements.
Danny Lipford: Boy, we always see some very unique tools and this is certainly one of those. It’s an oscillating tool, or a multipurpose tool, and can do a lot of different things around the house. Make a lot of those home improvement projects a little bit easier.
Now, if you’re dealing with ceramic tile in your bathroom, and you’re wanting to remove some of the grout, look at this. That can cut right through the grout and it doesn’t rotate so it’s not throwing the dust all over the place.
You can vacuum that right off and then you can re-grout that shower or that bathroom floor. Another attachment that will allow you to cut carpet very, very easily and another attachment steal like this will allow you to nip off any of the nails that you may need to in your remodeling project.
OK, now a very practical application for this tool, a lot of people are installing hardwood floors or laminate floors and you get over to the door jambs and you just wonder how am I going to make that look like a professional? Well, you grab this one and you cut the bottom of the trim piece off. And then you take the little piece of wood out, your laminate slips right under it, just like the pros.
Now, any project that you’re working around your house you’re going to have to do a little sanding. But if you done a lot of sanding, especially with a tool similar to this, it will vibrate your hand so bad.
This one’s different in it has two separate pads that move in different directions, and you can see how it works. It does a very effective job sanding with almost no vibration at all. That can make a big difference.
Boy, these are some great ideas, I know where some other great ideas are with Joe Truini and our Simple Solution of the week.
Joe Truini: Refinishing and painting chairs is a very common DIY project, but one challenge is how do you apply the paint neatly to the bottom of the legs where it sits on a drop cloth? Now you can tip it back and paint them but then you set it back down and the paint dries it has a tendency to stick, so here’s the solution.
First, flip the chair upside down, and earlier I drilled pilot holes in each leg so that I can drive in some screws. These are one and a quarter inch drywall screws. I’m just going to drive them in about an inch or so. And the reason I drilled the pilot holes earlier is so that the screws wouldn’t split the wood. This is a maple chair and the wood’s pretty brittle so we don’t want to split it of course.
All right, so you drive in the screws, then you just flip the chair over and you’ll see that the screws act like little stands for the legs. Now you can, you have plenty of room to apply the finish nice and neatly with no concern if it’s sticking to the surface.
Danny Lipford: This week we’re checking out the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, and there’s always some cool stuff here. One of the surprising trends is the use of metal.
Metal for the outside of the house, metal doors, metal sculptures, hand tooled metal vent hoods, even metal fireplace with a metal fire but the one that is most interesting is the new technology that fabricates decorative metal by printing it in layers.
Allen Lyle: Now, explain that to me, printing.
Representative: Printing is like a print head technology, goes over a build box which is comprised of stainless steel powder and the cast system tells the print head where to layer down the finder which enables you to print.
Allen Lyle: So it’s going this way, building up.
Representative: Yeah very similar to ink jet printing, right, exactly.
Allen Lyle: In that type of detail?
Representative: Yes, in that type of detail.
Allen Lyle: Wow.
Danny Lipford: We would never go to the International Builders’ Show without a stop at The Home Depot booth. You can see that there’s a number of a different kiosks with a lot of different products, all in a very small little footprint.
This year, we’re taking a look at the Kwikset locks, because they are always coming out with something different. Now this type of lock that’s a keyless entry has been around a little bit. You may have seen some of the cheap knockoffs, this is the real thing, and here’s how easy it works.
First of all just one touch there and you’re locking the door as you leave the house. Now, to unlock it when you get back home, if it’s dark, hey no problem. Push it twice and it all lights up, then use a four digit code to open the lock.
And the good thing about this is you’re actually able to put in two different four digit codes, one for the family and one for temporary access that you can change at any time. Now it’s available in satin nickel finish as well as polished brass and also Venetian bronze.
Now on the inside, you’ll find this. Now, this is the mechanism and the cover for it, and inside you have a couple of batteries that’ll last over a year. And of course you can use it as a traditional lock, so this is a great way to keep your family safe.
Hey, let’s check in with Allen who’s on the other side of the booth with kind of a different type of vacuum cleaner.
Allen Lyle: As I mentioned earlier we’re not seeing all that many brand new products but we are seeing those new twists on old products, here’s a prime example. This is the SmartCart from Ridgid, and right off the bat you’re going to notice something different. This is a wet dry vac but it’s not that cylinder.
Square in design, that makes it easy to transport, easy to store. The hose which is usually in the way no matter what you do when you have a wet to dry vac has it’s own storage space and look at the durability of this hose. You can mistreat this to your hearts content and it’s not going to break on you.
Couple of other features. You’ve got your accessory storage here. So remember the old ones you would have to stick on top, they may stay and they may not? Not the case anymore.
Easy access here to clean out the filter. And one other design that is really pretty cool about this is when you have this storage closed. Check this out, you’ve actually got a really nice work surface, definitely a SmartCart.
Danny Lipford: For more formal storage of the permanent kind, there are plenty of cabinet manufacturers here. And though there are some new styles, like these at Merillat, the real story is organization for areas outside the kitchen.
Some great rollout options are now available for bathroom cabinets, and these models from Armstrong are sure to make the laundry chores a little easier. If you’re into making improvements to these areas yourself, check out this concrete countertop demonstration by Chain Concrete in the Sakrete booth. It’s a messy process but it looks like fun.
After the concrete sits in the forms for about three to four days, and really gets nice and dry, there’s a little bit of polishing, sealing, and waxing. Then it’s time to break out your plumbing tools. After it’s all said and done this what you end up with.
Across the floor I’m checking out a slightly different bath display in the Kohler booth. While I was there I ran into our own Jodi Marks, and we both got roped into a slightly unorthodox toilet demonstration.
Hmm, maybe we better just look at Jodi’s Best New Product of the week.
Jodi Marks: Now this thing is pretty cool. This is the new 84-watt fluorescent work light from Husky, and it’s not your typical work light. Operating this thing kind of makes you feel like you’re in a science fiction movie. Once you set the legs up, the center shaft stands upright with this blue locator light on the top.
After plugging it in, you press this locking tab here, grab the blue light, and pull the main light out of the center shaft. When it’s fully extended, it locks into place. And look, it turns itself on. It stands about five feet four inches high, so it does need some room, but that’s the point.
Small work lights are designed for crawl spaces and cramped locations not large rooms, and to say this light is bright, is an understatement. It creates the equivalent of 300 watts of incandescent light in all directions. And because it’s fluorescent, there’s no heat buildup and it draws less than one amp of power.
Seriously, just place it in the center of your room, and you’re set. At about 60 bucks, it’s a little more expensive; but as I said this is not your typical work light.
Danny Lipford: We’re continuing our look at the International Builders’ Show and so far we’ve seen some really cool new products.
Now speaking of cool, these shingles from Owens Corning use a new granular technology that reflects solar energy to reduce a roof’s temperature by up to 10 degrees.
Synthetic slate roofing is also very popular here at the show and this one Bellaforté, from DaVinci Roofscapes, is also very efficient. It’s self aligning design requires a third less material and speeds up installation reducing time, weight, and labor costs.
For a truly unique look, check out this Timberclad poplar bark siding. It’s durable, low maintenance, and I’ll bet no one on your street has this, yet.
I also found a great new drop ceiling called the Zip-Up ceiling. It can be installed or removed as many times as you need so you’ll have plenty of access to plumbing or wiring for basement renovations.
And you were saying because it is so impervious to any type of moisture, if there was a little bit of moisture for some reason, no problem?
Representative: No it won’t stain, and it’s molded color all the wall through. You can power wash this and not transfer water to the other side. Same way, if these were to condensate and fall on it no molds, no mildews.
Danny Lipford: One company that has really expanded its product line, Generac. They’ve been making the whole house generators for years, now you can get that same quality in a portable unit. Now these are all the models for homeowners and these are the more heavy duty contractor models but either way it’s very important to know how much power you expect to get from a generator so that you can decide just what size you need.
Now, that’s the case for portable generators, as well as whole house ones as well. Now more and more people are relying on these all over the country not just the areas that are hurricane prone but the ice areas, a lot of people are realizing how cool it is and how comforting it is to have a whole house generator. Well this particular one has something that no other whole house generator has, the ability to switch from LP to natural gas with just a flip of the switch.
Also, you can monitor this generator very easily with the LCD readout. It will tell you exactly the status of the unit, when it needs to be maintained, and so forth. And you can even do that from the comfort of the inside of you home with this remote control. You can even turn it on and turn it off with this device.
Now, also if you have some severe weather and your power goes off, and you need to do a few repairs. Well, this one has an outlet on the outside that is ground fault protected so you can plug right into and put everything back together. It also has plenty of insulation to keep it nice and quiet.
Speaking of insulation we found a new spray foam from Icynene that’s made from caster oil instead of petroleum products.
There are green products everywhere, even this central vac system from Electrolux uses ten percent less energy and is made from 70 percent recycled material. For closer quarters the Vroom vac system delivers lots of power for quick cleanup.
For cleaner water this PureOFlow system filters it for the whole house using a reverse osmosis system which adds no salt or chemicals to the environment, like some other whole house filters.
Allen Lyle: All right. This late in the show I can guarantee you this, it’s impossible for one person to see everything here at this particular show. If you can grab a friend to go with you that always helps, and one fellow that is no stranger to Today’s Homeowner is Ed Begley.
Hey, Ed. Good to see you again.
Ed Begley: Allen, good to see you again, buddy.
Allen Lyle: Tell me what’s cool. What have you got for me?
Ed Begley: Well, I’m here with A. O. Smith the wonderful water heater company, they make great energy efficient water heaters. You know I have a very low natural gas bill, very low electric bill to begin with, but when I put once of these in, these have 96 percent thermal efficiency and I cut my natural gas bill in half with this. I mean it’s low and it got even lower.
I used to have two flames in the house if you will, one was the water heater the other one was a forced air heating. Now I have one, this does both, and so it really will cut down with this incredible efficiency and there’s so much that people can do, if they can afford a water heater like this, great, I hope they can get it. But there’s a lot of cheap and easy stuff people can do too.
Allen Lyle: Well, let’s talk about that, because, I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but you’re kind of like the guru of green.
Ed Begley: You’re being very kind.
Allen Lyle: So let’s talk about this, someone is going out there, so much out there right now. What’s the most important thing advice wise when you’re shopping?
Ed Begley: You know I would advise people to do it the way I did it. I was broke back in 1970, didn’t have a lot of money. So I had to pick the low hanging fruit first. Had to do the cheap and easy stuff. So start small with something like lighting, get some energy efficient light bulbs. Home gardening, home composting, and you know if you do that stuff you will save money I guarantee it, and then you can move up the ladder and do more, maybe get yourself a water heater.
Allen Lyle: Very good. It’s thinking green on the big scale.
Ed Begley: Thinking green, you’re going to get some green in your pocket, too. That’s an important green, too, Allen.
Allen Lyle: Hey, let’s talk about thinking green right now. Find out if Danny is Thinking Green.
Danny Lipford: I’ve always been fascinated by things like this radiometer. It’s just a basic motor powered by nothing but solar energy. So why can’t we use this free energy in our homes? Well, the fact is while sunlight is free, solar energy can be expensive.
Not many contractors are building solar homes and it would cost around 30 to 40 thousand dollars to convert an existing home to solar power. Plus the expense of manufacturing a solar cell, when compared to the amount of electricity it would produce, is pretty high.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. After all, here’s a great renewable energy source that requires no fuel and produces no pollution. We need to continue developing inexpensive ways to harness this power and eventually I believe we can find a way to do that. Until then, take advantage of what we already have available like landscape lighting and solar powered water heaters.
Well, another International Builders’ Show under our belt, Allen.
Allen Lyle: Yeah, three days on your feet. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun; but it will wear you out.
Danny Lipford: It will wear you out and we have gone up and down every isle in this place. And I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the things we were able to discover. But of course we were only able to just show you just a few of the things that we found.
Allen Lyle: Of course you’ll see a lot more of those things in some of the upcoming episodes of Today’s Homeowners, but if you’re just impatient and you want to see a little more right now, just visit our website. And it’s easy to find, dannylipford.com.
Danny Lipford: We also love to hear your feedback so if you have any ideas or any thoughts to make our show better and some of the things that you liked this week, or want to see in weeks ahead. Let us know on our website as well.
Hey, from two guys that are pretty tired here in Las Vegas, we’ll see you next week here on Today’s Homeowner. Man you’re going to have put those shoes on.
Allen Lyle: Me?
Danny Lipford: Next week we’re doing a massive makeover on a master bath.