Cool Stuff from the Builders’ Show: Day 2
Building-science types have traditionally derided fiberglass insulation because it doesn’t do much to stop air leaks, which greatly reduces its performance. However, the industry has answered with spray-applied caulk. Knauf and Owens Corning both have new air-sealing caulks meant to boost the performance of fiberglass. The caulk is applied with high-power sprayers. You can read more about them in Martin Holladay’s blog at Green Building Advisor.
Another cool thing: expanded polystyrene insulation that’s code approved for crawlspace use without further fire protection. Crawlspace Depot’s Bora-Foam passes smoke and flame-spread tests and includes borates to make it less attractive to insects. It costs less than foil-faced polyiso, which has been the traditional product of choice for insulating the foundation walls inside basements and crawlspaces.
I saw a number of linear shower drains like this one from Schluter. These long drains have two big advantages over traditional shower drains. First, since the shower pan only slopes in one direction, the pan is easier to build and quicker to install. Second, the long drains allow you to use large-format tiles with almost no cutting. They look great, too.
I’ve been hearing about home automation for a couple of decades now, but I still have yet to meet anyone with one of these systems. That’s likely to change with the wide acceptance of Apple’s iPad. The device has become the preferred platform for controlling home entertainment, comfort, and security. The software here from Savant looked especially easy to use.
|HEADLINES FROM THE INTERNATIONAL BUILDERS’ SHOW 2012|
New sheathing panel with a layer of polyiso on the back is meant to help builders achieve the new energy-code requirements without switching. Read more…
Crawlspace Depot’s Bora-Foam is an expanded polystyrene insulation that’s code approved for crawlspace use without further fire protection. Read more…
Owens Corning's two-part spray caulk called EnergyComplete is applied with a high-pressure (and high-dollar) pump. The rig mixes the two components just before the nozzle. The dried caulk is soft and spongy, so it can be applied to plates and studs, where it acts like a drywall gasket. EnergyComplete must be installed by an OC-trained applicator.
Knauf's EcoSeal air-sealing product is a single component. It's harder than the OC version, so it can't be used as a gasket, but the rig is less complicated and less expensive. In addition, the company is willing to sell the product to anyone.
Azek's deck-mounted storage bin looks like the perfect thing for storing cushions, charcoal, and other deck gear. The lid is structural, so you can walk on it. I was told it retails for about $1000.
The iPad has been a big boost to the home-automation industry. The easy-to-use device and software from Savant means you can change or monitor your home's HVAC, security, and entertainment systems from anywhere inside or outside the house.
Schluter's new shower drain is one of several trench-style drains I saw at the show. These drains look great, and since the shower pan only slopes in one direction, the pan is easier to build and you can use large-format tiles without a lot of cutting.