Best New Products for Easy Upgrades
At the International Builders' Show this year, we found these clever ways to spruce up your house that won't cost a lot of time and money
There are always plenty of eye-catching, top-of-the-line products on exhibit at the International Builders' Show. This year we went looking for show items that are eye-catching for a different reason: They can spruce up the look of your home without demanding lots of skill, time, or money. Here's what we found.
Changing the look of your deck just got a lot easier, thanks to Trex's modular railing system, which is as safe and sturdy as traditionally fastened railings. Each component can be changed individually, so you can easily unclip the rails from the posts and swap out square composite balusters or mix in tubular, powder-coated aluminum ones. Between Trex's Artisan and Designer railings collections, there are seven colors to choose from, so changing the color and style of the rails, post sleeves, and post caps is a breeze.
About $25 per linear foot; Trex
SilcaGrates allow you to build a low-maintenance stone, brick, tile or concrete-paver patio on standard deck framing, saving you the time and expense of preparing a proper base on the ground. The easy-to-cut, UV-stable plastic grates lock together and can be screwed directly to the wood joists. When the grates are in place, just lay your favorite material over them.
About $8 per square foot; SilcaSystem
If you like the look of stone or brick on a house but not the cost, check out SureTouch's quick-and-easy installation system, which doesn't require a mason's skill or bill. Attach the polystyrene foam panels to the wall sheathing, push Suretouch's 1¾-inch-thick concrete stone or brick look-alikes into the panel recesses, then fill the joints with a proprietary mortar. Once the mortar cures, the assembly is bound into a single unit that has an R-value of 13.5. Drainage channels behind each panel ensure that water can't be trapped against the house.
About $20 per square foot; SureTouch
Aurora makes it easy to add energy-efficient lighting to your fence or deck posts with these LED post caps. Each cap in the Nova and Eclipse lines includes four downward-facing LEDs that create a softly lit outdoor lighting environment. Fixture wires can be run through the center of hollow posts or in grooves routed into solid posts. The lights come in 14 colors.
The price of one cap starts at about $60; Home Tops
Easy-to install and easy-to-maintain, this system is an alternative to drop ceilings or drywall. Made entirely of PVC, its free-floating panels interlock with rails attached to the ceiling—no glue or adhesive is required. To access wiring and plumbing, simply pull off a panel, do the work, and put it back. The material is impervious to water and moisture, so it's ideal for basements. Zip-UP will not mildew, can be cleaned with a damp cloth, and carries a Class-A fire rating.
Prices starts at about $4 per square foot; Zip-UP Ceiling
Forget the backerboard. Forget the thinset. Forget the grout. ACP's nonceramic subway tile is made of lightweight polyethylene sandwiched between aluminum. The aluminum is coated to look like brushed stainless steel or brushed copper. No tiling tools are needed for installation—cut them with a utility knife. The tiles are water- and heat-resistant. Keep them clean with soap and water.
About $20 per square foot; Aspect