THE QUESTION THAT WILL BE FACING attendees at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla., next month is a simple one: How do you find time to attend seminars and visit the more than 1,600 exhibitors that will be displaying their wares in a show that feels as big as Rhode Island?
It's a trick question, of course, for it is almost impossible to visit every booth, see every product, and sit in on all the presentations. You can't see everything—at least not without renting a scooter or perhaps stopping time—so you might as well see only the coolest stuff. And, as usual, we try to give you a head start.
Our pre-show products coverage this year highlights some of the cool things that are sure to make a splash at the show—from affordable undermount kitchen sinks and aluminum-clad wood windows to quartz countertop surfacing that feels like leather and has integrated antimicrobial protection to fight the growth of bacteria.
As usual, innovation will be the buzzword for this year's show. One innovation is Perennia, a gas fireplace from Heat & Glo that is sure to be a hit at the show. Unlike other gas units, the product has a control system that allows users to remove up to 85 percent of the heat without sacrificing flame height or the fire's appearance—great for year-round use.
Another product that should garner attention is Delta Faucet's MultiChoice Universal Valve system, a three-in-one product that allows builders the option of choosing what type of valve is desired for the tub and shower. Also, head over to the Crane Performance Siding booth for a look at insulated board and batten vinyl siding that is engineered to protect against air infiltration and has an R-value of 2.0–3.0.
Though we only have space for 20 products, a wealth of other labor-saving and head-turning items will be at the show. This list should put you ahead of the pack, but feel free to rent that scooter if you wish.
Builders Clad is an entry-level collection of aluminum-clad wood windows. The windows feature rot-resistant AuraLast pine and come with high-performance, low-E glass with special coatings that block 84 percent of UV rays, the company says. Windows come in various sizes and styles with white or desert sand aluminum cladding. Jeld-Wen. 877-535-3462. www.jeldwen.com. Booth no. W1701.
The manufacturer says Harmony Select is an advanced generation of composite lumber that blends the beauty of wood, the brawn of composites, and the weather resistance of vinyl. The manufacturer says it has encapsulated the natural fibers with cellular PVC and capped them with a weather-safe thermoplastic resin for a highly weather-resistant product. It comes in reddish mahogany and weathered gray. Royal Crown. 800-488-5245. www.royalcrownltd.com. Booth no. W201.
If the sporty lines of Radius whirlpool tubs seem familiar, it's because the collection was inspired by design elements of the BMW Z4. Part of the Contours luxury brand, the acrylic tubs feature an air-and-water hydrotherapy system, an inline heater, lumbar support, head- and armrests, and one-touch functionality. They are available in 17 colors. Lasco Bathware. 800-945-2726. www.lascobathware.com. Booth no. W1083.
Undercounter kitchen sinks are usually more expensive than traditional top-mounted units. The manufacturer says this line is ideal for people who want functionality but don't want to pay a lot for it. The single- and double-bowl sinks are made from a single sheet of stainless steel and have SilentShield sound-absorbing technology. They come in 18-, 19-, or 20-gauge models with 7 ½- or 8-inch depths. Sterling. 800-783-7546. www.sterlingplumbing.com. Booth no. W1301.
Unless it's an electric version, a fireplace is a cold-weather accoutrement. Not any more. The Perennia gas fireplace has a control system that removes up to 85 percent of the heat without sacrificing flame height or appearance, the manufacturer says. Homeowners can adjust the heat output level—from 100 percent down—in 20 percent increments via a wall-mounted control panel. The 30,000-BTU unit measures 41 inches wide by 38 inches high. Heat & Glo. 888-427-3973. www.heatnglo.com. Booth no. W1159.
High temperatures can harm the appearance and performance of your door sills. The manufacturer says its new Z-Series door sill with application-specific composite components reduces the chance of shrinkage and warping caused by heat. It also includes UV inhibitors and a powder-coated finish on selected models to counteract fading. Endura Products. 800-334-2006. www.enduraproducts.com. Booth no. W6061.
Fancy rooflines and details have curb appeal, but they are prone to leaking if not sealed properly. Roof Detail Membrane is designed specifically for waterproofing critical roof details. The flexible, self-adhering product forms a weather-tight barrier against leaks caused by water backup from ice dams or from wind-driven rain, the company says. It is available in precut strips in widths of 9 or 18 inches. Grace Construction Products. www.graceconstruction.com. Booth no. S11813.
These Paradigm leather and suede cabinet pulls might be just the thing to add a little pizzazz to your houses. The ultra-modern decorative hardware collection is offered in black leather, black crocodile leather, and cocoa brown washable suede with polished chrome and brushed nickel accents. The collection includes a square knob, a 3-inch pull, and a 7-inch pull. Atlas Homewares. 818-240-3500. www.atlashomewares.com. Booth no. S10856.
The compact Merit Plus electric fireplace can be installed anywhere in a home without major work, the manufacturer says. Suited to applications where traditional wood-or gas-burning fireplaces are impractical, the unit measures 27 inches wide by 32 inches high and has a charred, split-oak log set. A remote control lets users adjust appearance of the flame height and ember intensity. Lennox Hearth Products. 800-953-6669. www.lennoxhearthproducts.com. Booth no. W2159.
This new line of glass shower enclosures complements the company's acrylic shower bases and tubs. The doors and panels are constructed of 10-millimeter-thick tempered safety glass with beveled edges and feature PVC seals and magnetic door closures. Cast brass hinges and handles are standard. MTI Whirlpools. 800-783-8827. www.mtiwhirlpools.com. Booth no. W174.
The South Sea Collection of faucets was created to cater to the growing popularity of natural textures and finishes. The latest addition to the company's bath products, the bamboo-inspired collection features solid brass construction and has ceramic disc valves for long-lasting performance. It comes in brushed nickel and distressed bronze finishes. Danze. 877-530-3344. www.danze.com. Booth no. W3449.
Creating the appearance of charred wood, the distressing for the new Artesian Color-Wash Collection is more pronounced on darker woods and softer on lighter ones. Each plank measures 5 inches wide by 46½ inches long and has a microbeveled edge. It comes in maple, cherry, birch, and walnut in 11 finishes. Robbins Fine Hardwood Flooring. 800-233-3823. www.armstrong.com. Booth no. W1359.
The River Series line of natural quartz surfacing looks like stone but has the feel of leather. The matte-finish surfacing is a waterproof, stain-resistant, and highly scratch-resistant product that does not require sealing. Additionally, it has built-in Microban antimicrobial protection to fight the growth of bacteria, the manufacturer says. Cosentino. 800-291-1311. www.silestone.com Booth no. W771.
Because jobsite safety is of utmost importance, the manufacturer has introduced Job Site Armor, heavy-duty safety equipment that features lightweight materials and innovative designs. The products meet or exceed standard industrial safety guidelines, the maker says. The line includes safety eyewear, work gloves, respirators, and reusable earplugs and folding earmuffs. Milwaukee Electric Tool. 800-729-3878. www.milwaukeetool.com. Booth no. W243.
This electric brad nailer is ideal for finish carpenters looking for a versatile tool. It features an adjustable depth of drive, a no-mar pad, an 8-foot power cord, and a soft rubber trigger. The nailer shoots 18-gauge brad nails measuring 5/8 inches to 1¼ inches long. Senco Products. 800-543-4596. www.senco.com. Booth no. W2971.
ThermaWrap housewrap helps increase the installed thermal resistance value of insulation, the company says. It provides better condensation and mold control, as well as higher UV resistance, the manufacturer adds. The product helps reduce cold bridging at studs and reflects radiant heat in the summer. DuPont. 800-448-9835. www.dupont.com. Booth no. W1571.
CraneBoard Board & Batten siding features an architecturally correct, double 10-inch design that replicates the appearance of real cedar board and batten siding, the maker says. The product's interlocking panels protect against air infiltration and wind-driven rain, and its solid foam backing provides an R-value of 2.0–3.0. It is available in 10-foot lengths. Crane Performance Siding. 800-366-8472. www.cranesiding.com. Booth no. W543.
Designed to work with the manufacturer's glass wall systems, NanaScreen retractable units allow fresh air to enter the home but offer protection from insects. The product features a pleated polypropylene screen, reinforced wire tensioning, and full-height magnetic catches for a tight seal that allows the screen to endure strong wind conditions, the manufacturer says. Nana Wall Systems. 800-873-5673. www.nanawallsystems.com. Booth no. S10867.
This new line of slide-in ranges has a re-engineered downdraft and updraft system, a dual-fuel feature, and an integrated warming drawer. Gas and dual-fuel models have a triple-flame burner with two rings surrounding a 15,000-BTU burner; electric models have a radiant element that gives cooks the control of a gas stove. It is available in stainless steel and a new opaque glass finish. Jenn-Air. 641-792-7000. www.jennair.com. Booth no. W501.
Designed to simplify tub and shower faucet installations, the MultiChoice Universal Valve system allows installers to make trim changes without having to change the valve in the wall. The valve offers three options: single-function pressure balance, dual-function pressure balance, and dual-function thermostatic valve. These allow pressure balance and thermostatic cartridges to be installed in one valve. Delta Faucet Co. 800-345-3358. www.deltafaucet.com. Booth no. W1101.