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Photo by Sean Williams

At some point in the life of your house, the lumber that holds it together will get wet. The flashing will fail, the roof will leak, or, as demonstrated by last year's hurricanes, the rains will drive and the waters will rise. Frame a house with blue lumber, though, and the water won't wet the wood in the first place.

So says Bluwood, whose answer to the glaring question about the glaring color is unsatisfying. (It's a marketing gimmick.) What is satisfying is the Florida company's "infusion film" sealant, a waterproof barrier that they promise will keep moisture out of structural lumber while keeping the wood's insect- and fungus-fighting borates in. Borates have long been known as environmentally friendly wood preservatives; the problem is that when the wood gets wet, borates leach out and leave it vulnerable. Bluwood is backing up its claims in a walk-in petri dish they call the "mold house." Inside, an ongoing two-year experiment shows untreated samples rotting away while the Bluwood remains unaffected.

Just about any species of wood can be special-ordered from the lumberyard with a Bluwood sealant. The treatment adds about 20 percent to the cost, but the wood will be guaranteed for the life of the house. And if blue's not your color, just remember, it gets covered by the drywall. Visit Bluwood for dealers.