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What's new in building materials: consider these for your next remodel

Jeffrey Anderson | Improvement Center Columnist | November 7, 2014

Home remodeling is big business - according to the Wall Street Journal, homeowners spent about 130 billion dollars on upkeep and improvements in 2013. That's not a typo - 130 billion dollars. And just like any other industry, building material manufacturers hope to attract customers by introducing new products every year. How are these products different than those already in use? Well, they might improve the energy efficiency of your home or the materials could be more "green" so their usage helps the planet. In some cases they might be a little more DIY friendly or perhaps updated to keep up with new style trends. So what's new for 2014 that you might want to consider for your remodeling project?

5 new products for your remodeling projects

Whether you're a DIYer or plan on hiring a contractor, here are five new products to keep in mind for any project you have planned for the near future:

  1. Jet board - Do you have an addition or interior renovation in the planning stage? These types of projects almost always require exterior sheathing, interior sheetrock, or tile backer board. Does any of the sheathing or sheetrock have to be fire or water resistant? How many pieces and where should it go? Jet board, a new product from Jet Products, can eliminate all the guess work. The material is fire, mold, insect, and moisture resistant and can be used in place of standard exterior sheathing and interior sheetrock. The company also has a product that can be used in bathrooms as tile backer board.
  2. DuxxBak decking - A back or side yard deck can be a great place to spend some time with your family or entertain guests, but what about all the area beneath that is lost? Most convention decks allow water to drain between the boards down to the ground below unless some sort of membrane or drainage system is installed. This means that area can't even be used as a place to store outdoor furniture for fear of water damage. DuxxBak decking boards from Green Bay Decking provide a solution to the problem by channeling the water off to the side of the deck. DuxxBak decking boards are manufactured to be resistant to mold, mildew, decay, and scratching and are available in six pre-finished colors.
  3. Zola European Windows - There are replacement windows that can make your home more energy efficient and then there are Zola European Windows. To meet Energy Star requirements, replacement windows must have an overall R-value between 1.7 and 3.3. A Zola double glazed Classic wood window has an R-value of 4.3 and their triple glazed ThermoClad has an R-value of 7. The company offers tilt and turn, casement, and fixed windows in sizes made to order. Wood frames have 15 stain and 300 paint colors to choose from and there are 20 standard cladding shades available and over 300 custom selections.
  4. Dekton Countertops - It seems like one or two new countertop materials are introduced every year and 2014 is no different. One of the new products getting a lot of attention this year is Dekton from Consentino. Using an ultra-compaction process, the company has been able to create sheets of countertop material in sizes and thicknesses not available in most other products. The manufacturing process also gives the material structural strength not usually seen in a product so thin. As a result, there can be fewer seams in your kitchen countertops, and island and breakfast bar overhangs of up to 12 inches won't require additional support. Dekton is available in 15 colors and three thicknesses. The material is scratch, stain, heat, and abrasion resistant. Because it's non-porous, Dekton never needs to be sealed and is easy to clean.
  5. Terra Tile - If you like the warmth of quarry tile but have concerns about its durability, Terra Tile from Nemo may be worth some strong consideration. The product has a quarry tile appearance, but is made from durable porcelain that is suitable for residential and even commercial applications. Standard tiles are available in five colors and more than six sizes. The material is also produced in a mosaic configuration in five colors and if you want to add a little flair to your project, choose from 20 shades of Deco tiles.

These are just a few of the new products available for remodeling projects this year. If you're planning a renovation or addition, check with your contractor or other local remodeling professionals to find out what additional offerings might be used to make your home more attractive or energy efficient.

About the Author

Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I., and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time. He spends his time writing, remodeling his old farmhouse, and in animal rescue.