Finding affordable, skilled labor is a challenge for nearly all U.S. builders, and manufacturers are responding with innovative structural products that can be installed in less time, with fewer steps, by fewer hands. For example, Dryvit Systems’ NewBrick product includes a horizontal alignment guide that automatically standardizes the mortar joint, eliminating the need for support pans and shelf angles and allowing for quicker installation. Products like Covestro’s PUReWall prefabricated wall panel and Boise Cascade’s AJS 24 FMJ Fire Membrane I-Joists come ready for installation at the jobsite with integrated features that eliminate some of the steps traditionally associated with framing and flooring installation.

The following structural products leverage new technologies to save builders time and money while staying on top of consumer demands for eco-friendly, healthy, and durable homes. These innovations stand out for their ability to chip away at big industry challenges one jobsite at a time.

Boise Cascade
Engineered wood manufacturer Boise Cascade is expanding markets for its AJS 24 FMJ Fire Membrane I-joists. The joists come ready for easy installation in unfinished residential basements, and are designed without specified top and bottom orientation to ensure correct framing. They are lighter than equivalent 2-foot-by-10-foot and 2-foot-by-12-foot floor systems with a wider nailing surface, the manufacturer says, and are non-corrosive to fasteners. The joists include a foil-faced insulation board and meet stringent durability and ICC-ES fire protection standards.

RoyOMartin recently expanded and rebranded its Eclipse line of radiant barrier oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing products. The Eclipse OSB radiant barrier is a cost-effective and energy-efficient roof sheathing solution that reduces radiation on the surface and heat flow throughout the insulation. The OSB is installed with the foil side inward toward attic space and offers Class “B” fire resistance. Eclipse OSB Radiant Barrier is 48 inches wide, 96 or 120 inches long, and available in 7⁄16, 15⁄32, 1/2, and 19⁄32-inch thicknesses.

Dryvit Systems
NewBrick saves time and money on the jobsite. At 1⁄12th the weight of traditional clay brick, NewBrick offers the aesthetic value of brick cladding with greater ease of installation, the firm says. Each brick includes a horizontal alignment guide that provides a standard ⅜-inch mortar joint between rows, eliminating the need for support pans and shelf angles. Dryvit recently expanded the alignment feature to all NewBrick shapes, sizes, and textures. In addition, the bricks are adhesively attached with no ties required. NewBrick can be directly installed over tilt-wall, precast, and concrete masonry units. When used with Dryvit’s Outsulations CI system, the bricks meet IECC requirements, high energy and fire resistant standards, and can contribute to a building’s LEED points, the company says. NewBrick can save on construction costs by reducing the amount of steel and concrete that is typically required to support brick, Dryit says.

Fypon has added beam end caps and tops to its collection of rustic faux wood beams and accessories. The end caps can be used with any Fypon woodgrain-look beam size and style. Beam tops are made in the Mesa style, and are available for 6-by-8-inch and 8-by-10-inch beams. The beams, end caps, and tops are made from a lightweight polyurethane material, which does not split, crack, warp, mold, or dry out like real wood, the firm says. The new end and top caps are ideal for creating mantels, shelves, or door frames, according to the manufacturer.

LP Building Products
LP’s newest composite subfloor solution is bonded at the molecular level by a resin formulated with Gorilla Glue technology. LP Legacy panels retain their shape and size when exposed to moisture due to the material’s dense composition, and can be exposed to the elements for long periods during construction, the company says. The panels sport exceptional fastener holding with less deflection of finished materials, reducing the chance of nail pops or movement over time, according to the manufacturer. LP Legacy panels come with pre-printed fastener marks for precise installation.

Sheetrock brand Ecosmart Panels with Mold Tough Firecode X are made of a lightweight and sustainable gypsum material. The ⅝-inch, Type X wallboard is both moisture- and mold-resistant. Engineered with USG’s proprietary gypsum core technology, the wallboards can be used as a lightweight replacement for Type C panels in wall, column, floor-ceiling, and roof-ceiling assemblies, according to the company. Ecosmart is made with a low level of water usage, USG adds.

All of Georgia-Pacific’s UltraStock MDF panels are now manufactured using 100% no-added-formaldehyde (NAF) resin, which used to be available by special order only. The new formulation offers enhanced indoor air quality and environmental value, Georgia-Pacific says. In addition, UltraStock MR MDF now meets MR50 requirements, ANSI’s highest designation for moisture-resistant MDF. UltraStock MR is ideal for interior settings where periodic exposure to moisture is likely, according to the manufacturer. UltraStock Select, Premium, Lite, Moulding, and Embossing meet MR10 standards.

Polymer manufacturing company Covestro has introduced PUReWall, a prefabricated wall panel that saves builders time and money.

Polymer manufacturing company Covestro has introduced PUReWall, a prefabricated wall panel that saves builders time and money. The insulated structural wall panel is made from conventional wood frames and polyurethane-based insulation between framing. The panels also have a rigid polyiso board for continuous insulation, which reduces thermal bridging. PUReWall features an integrated weather-resistive barrier and taped joints that eliminate the need for housewrap. The wall panel ranges from R-17 to R-33.

Accsys Group
Accsys Group’s Tricoya MDF is made from wood fibers that have undergone the process of acetylation, which alters the cell structure of the wood to make it more durable and dimensionally stable. Tricoya is unrecognizable as a food source to insects and resists fungal decay, the company says. The MDF can be used in a variety of exterior applications, as facades, cladding, fascia and soffit panels, window components, and in wet interior applications such as bathrooms. Tricoya MDF does not require sanding and is water-resistant after being cut into, Accsys says.

TAMKO Building Products has expanded its line of waterproofing products with the introduction of Floor Shield.

TAMKO Building Products
TAMKO Building Products has expanded its line of waterproofing products with the introduction of Floor Shield, a temporary floor protection mat for the concrete curing process. The rolled product is made of polyester fibers and resin to protect concrete surfaces from other trades until the project is completed. Its porous design allows dampness to pass through the fibers and resin without trapping moisture. Floor Shield comes in 1,000-square-foot rolls that are 40 by 300 inches.

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