What's New

Shingle Panels
Factory-assembled panels shortcut the painstaking (and expensive) process of installing sidewall shingles the old-fashioned way: one at a time. Tom used the 2-by-8-foot plywood-backed panels to re-side the barn at the Milton project and estimates that they went up three times faster. The new Cedar Panel from Maibec uses Home Slicker, a yellow mat that creates an air space so wood shingles dry out faster. (The mat is sold separately in lumberyards.) For the ultimate in time saving, order the panels prestained.

Solar-Powered Roofing
Rising electric rates are spurring interest in power-generating roofing shingles. Place enough of them on a south-facing roof and they will significantly reduce a home's electrical demand. Available in rigid "slates" (shown here) that produce 920 watts per 100 sq. ft., or flexible shingles (600 watts per 100 sq. ft.). The technology isn't cheap—120 a square foot for rigid, $50 for flexible—but imagine the delight of watching your electricity bills plummet.

Solid-core Vinyl Siding
A big knock on vinyl has been its hollow, concave look and flimsy feel. Now a new type of vinyl siding features a solid foam backing, which makes the panel stiffer and more impact resistant. It also allows more style options, such as wider exposures for each "clapboard" (up to 7 inches). Best of all, the siding has four times the insulation value of regular vinyl installed over a standard insulating backer board.

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