From wildfires to hurricanes, some of 2018’s biggest news events were weather-related, so it makes sense that more building products are being designed to resist wind, water, seismic activity, cold, and heat. Structural systems now need to carry heavier lateral loads in order to resist more frequent high winds, snow events, and earthquakes. Roof fasteners, prefabricated wall panels, steel framing, insulated concrete blocks, impact-resistant glass, and panelized flooring systems yield high ratings for wind shear, storm, flood, and seismic issues.

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.

Boise Cascade

Boise Cascade’s BC FloorValue software scans construction drawings to identify possible weaknesses in a building’s floor structure. After evaluating floor plans, the software suggests efficient corrections to the plans and provides cost estimates for fixes. Potential issues the software recognizes and addresses include sheathing thickness, on-center spacing, and how the quality of various products affects the floor. Architects and designers can use the program to optimize flooring support and structure, saving builders from costly changes during construction. For example, in rooms such as bathrooms where flooring finishes commonly call for tile, the program recommends stronger supports. It also uses a heat map to find potential problem areas and indicate possible deflections in joist, sheathing, and support stiffness.

Clint Brewer PHOTO

National Gypsum

PermaBase cement board reduces time and cost in the installation of adhered stone veneer, according to a recent study by Home Innovation Research Labs, an independent division of the NAHB. The study found that the product reduces installation time by 35% and has the highest rating for mold resistance on the ASTM D3273 test. The concrete and glass material offers durability, strength, stability, and impact resistance, the firm says, and can be cut with a knife. In addition, the PermaBase website provides a comparison tool to calculate costs, estimate labor, and determine the amount of material needed.


Effisus Easyrepair waterproofing tape works to seal roof joints, skylights, gutters, and other penetrations in the building envelope. Made of molecular compounds containing only single-bond carbon atoms, the product is resistant to exposure to air and chemicals, as well as changes in temperature, the company says. It adheres to metal, glass, stone, concrete, ceramic tile, and polycarbonate surfaces. The waterproof formula emits no VOCs or other toxic gas, making it safe for indoor use, and application requires only cleaning the surface and applying the membrane, according to the firm.


Delta Dry & Lath provides a dual-purpose rainscreen for houses finished in stucco or manufactured stone. Made with a fiberglass lath, the product delivers moisture control with a single installation process. The design provides thorough ventilation to inhibit the growth of mold, rot, and decay, and the fiberglass material won’t rust or stain, the firm says. Combining a rainscreen with the fiberglass lath as a single product makes installation faster, the material lighter, and requires fewer tools for application, according to the company.

Sto Corp

The Sto RapidGuard waterproofing membrane offers multipurpose coverage with extreme stretchability, which prevents tearing or weakening of the air barrier. This flexibility makes RapidGuard ideal for sealing rough openings, transitions between different materials, cracks, and other joints. The product is quickly and easily applied without the use of special tools, tape, or mesh, according to the firm. RapidGuard can also be installed in near-freezing temperatures or applied to a damp substrate without risk of blistering or compromising the air barrier, says the company.

Benjamin Obdyke

HydroGap drainable housewrap dries twice as fast as other drainable housewraps, according to the company. The wrap’s 1-millimeter spacers placed in an omni-directional pattern mean it can be installed in any direction and still maintain rapid drainability. The product features a tri-laminate substrate made up of a water holdout layer flanked by two non-woven layers for durability. It installs quickly and easily without seam tape, the firm says, and comes with a 15-year warranty.


The new OC No-Mix open-cell spray foam insulation from Icynene eliminates the need to mix the solution, allowing for easier installation and a more consistent product. The benefits of spray foam include complete sealing of wall cavities, attics, and crawlspaces, as well as creation of a continuous air barrier to prevent heat transfer, according to the company. The insulation also provides a layer of exterior noise mitigation.

James Hardie

According to the company, HardieBacker 500 Waterproof Cement Board is the industry’s first and only waterproof cement backerboard. The product passes the ANSI 118.10 waterproof test, meaning it saves time and money by eliminating the need to waterproof the surface—only joints and fasteners need waterproofing. Ideal for wet spaces like baths, laundry rooms, and kitchens, the board protects and supports tile applications as well as the structure and wall cavities behind it, the company says.

Simpson Strong Tie

Simpson Strong-Tie

Narrow air spaces behind brick veneer risk being filled up with mortar droppings, which can block airflow and drainage. Simpson Strong-Tie’s new BTH brick tie can connect brick, stone, and masonry veneers across spans up to 3 inches, allowing for a wider, more effective space. Fabricated from 22-gauge galvanized steel, it is field-adjustable in two places and can be installed with either side facing up, providing strength and versatility, says the company. Tie ends embed in mortar a minimum of 11/2 inches and connect to framing with a single 0.131-inch-by-2½-inch nail.


As the latest addition to the Typar Weather Protection System, the Typar Drainable Wrap addresses the need for moisture management in exterior wall cavities. Its integrated drainage plane of multidirectional polypropylene fibers create a gap for shedding excess water. According to the manufacturer, the product diverts bulk water significantly faster than most conventional housewraps, per ASTM E2273 testing, and drains it away from the assembly, preventing potential damage caused by mold and rot. The 5-foot-wide, 100-foot-long roll covers roughly 500 square feet.

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