News from the Remodeling Show

pom7This year’s National Remodeling Show was held in September on the harbor in downtown Baltimore. The weather was beautiful and the blue crabs were plentiful. We have compiled what we think was the best of the show to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest products and innovations in remodeling.

Experts from all across the country were saying the same things: Most homeowners are looking to maintain their current homes. And the most popular remodeling focus, by far, is the bathroom. But there were lots of newsworthy developments in building products in general.

Here are some:

pom8First of all – bathrooms. The  emphasis is on planning; change orders are out. Have the all potential issues been thought out? And should anything extra, like a towel warmer or a mirror defogger, be considered consider before determining final design? Upfront planning saves money and time.

At Get Dwell,  we fix a lot of towel holders or toilet paper rollers that have come out of the wall. The best fix is to include a solution in the upfront design — a solid backing so the hardware has something to secure itself onto before the walls go up. Another common issue is ventilation systems.  We see a significant number of bathrooms where ventilation is an afterthought — or not a thought at all. That leads to mold and mildew-conducive environments where caulk and grout have to be replaced constantly.

pom9Accessibility has now become an integral part of the design process. Today the focus is on a design that can eliminate curbs and other barriers, leaving the bathroom more open and accessible. That adds to a sense of well-being and to a measure of safety for an aging in place population. Companies like AKW (www.akw-usa.com) are doing this in a dynamic and beautiful way.

In the bath category there were two notable new products: First, the product chosen “2010 Best New Product” is Bondera, a tiling product that transforms the way bathrooms are built and makes it easier for the homeowner to do tiling work themselves. Instead of laying tile in a bed of adhesive, which must be correctly troweled,  tile can now be stuck to a two-sided adhesive mat and grouted immediately. This will cut down on tiling time significantly while providing a quick, clean, durable solution with no odors or VOCs. Learn more at www.bonderatilematset.com.

pom5As always, the complete bath systems by Schluter Systems are impressive, and this year was no exception. With Schluter products, there is no need for caulk and grout at the seams, eliminating the most costly and aggravating bathroom maintenance issue for homeowners. This year, Schulter introduced a new substrate system called Kerdi-board, which further reinforces their high-quality and complete water management system. More information about Schluter’s elegant,  maintenance-free bathroom systems is at www.schluter.com.

pom6How’s your basement air quality? Particularly in older homes, the basement air quality can effect the entire home. Beyond any health issues this may cause, a “basement smell” is simply unpleasant both for you and your vistors. The smart EZ Breathe system solves the problem by removing the stale air in the basement (www.ezbreathe.com).

One of the most common repairs we perform is fixing a bi-fold door that isn’t working. The majority of the time it’s because of a hardware / installation issue. With the magnificent hardware from Johnson Hardware, that wouldn’t be an issue. Johnson is an Indiana company specializing in bi-fold and pocket-door hardware manufactured in the USA to an exacting standard that provides a lifetime guarantee. This much-needed and well-thought-out product is designed to last a lifetime (www.johnsonhardware.com).

pom3Marvin Windows and Doors is once again on the cutting edge of what we think a window can be. Some of the latest advancements include a casement window that looks like a double-hung window with a revolutionary wash mode that lets you easily clean both sides of windows from inside. It can come with a retractable screen for wide-open views. And don’t miss the tax credits you deserve if you purchase a qualifying energy-efficient product from Marvin before the end of the year (www.marvin.com) and locally can be purchased from Evanston Lumber (www.evanstonlumber.com).

Ninety percent of deck failures and a lot of deck repair work we do involve the ledger connection, where the deck meets the building. A practical and ingenious preventative solution is Everflashing. Ranked #34 in 2010 Building Product Magazine’s top 100 products, it is designed to eliminate the possibility of water intrusion (www.everflashing.org).

pom2Another tax-credit-qualifying product is one that helps homeowners keep their attics cool in the summer. Radiant barriers by Enerflex can reflect up to 96% of the radiant energy back toward the roof and they are easy to install. Find out more at www.enerflexfoil.com.

While we’ll miss the blue crabs, next year’s National Remodeling  Show is right here in Chicago, from Oct 12 –14. If you can’t make it, we’ll be sure to report back on the latest innovations and trends in home care.