Written on May 24, 2013 at 14:00
During National Home Remodeling Month in May, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) urges homeowners to trust their door and window replacement to professional installers. Proper installation ensures a home’s doors and windows perform as intended.
Replacing doors and windows were one of the top five most common remodeling projects of 2012, according to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey of remodelers.
“While purchasing the most expensive doors and windows on the market may seem like a good way to increase home value and save on energy costs, poorly installed products may end up costing more in the long run,” cautions Rich Walker, AAMA’s president and CEO.
He adds, “Installation can be complicated, and manufacturers’ installation instructions don’t always provide complete details on how to handle the hundreds of different surrounding wall and job site conditions. Also, many manufacturers’ warranties don’t cover installation; and if they do, you must use the approved and recommended installation method.”
The InstallationMasters™ Training and Certification Program is a nationwide course for installers of windows and patio doors in the residential and light commercial markets. Each participant who submits all required registration material and passes a thorough written exam is certified as an installer and receives an official InstallationMasters photo identification card. Homeowners can ask to see this card to ensure the installer’s credentials are up to date.
Have you promoted National Home Remodeling Month? Go to dwmmag.com and take our poll.
Written on May 24, 2013 at 14:00
Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000 units in April, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The gain builds on a strong upward revision to sales numbers reported for the previous month.
“Today’s report is further evidence of the gradual, consistent improvement we have been seeing in housing market conditions over the past year,” says NAHB senior economist Robert Denk. “We’re now about half-way back to what could be considered a full recovery, and we do expect to see continual, solid gains in both starts and sales of new homes going forward.”
On a regional basis, new-home sales rose 3.0 percent in the South and 10.8 percent in the West, but fell 4.8 percent in the Midwest and 16.7 percent in the Northeast in April.
The inventory of new homes for sale edged up to a still-thin 156,000 units in April. This is a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace.
Written on May 24, 2013 at 14:00
Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday that would reform the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule is being applauded by door and window groups. The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 (H.R. 2093) was introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and has 21 co-sponsors.
Among its key provisions, H.R. 2093 would restore the “opt-out” clause; suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 without a pregnant woman or small child present if EPA cannot approve a test kit meeting its own standard for false positives; prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts research demonstrating the need for such action; and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.
“This industry faced some tough years when the housing market crashed, and retrofit and remodeling work was critical in keeping some dealers in business,” says National Lumber and Building Material Dealer Association (NLBMDA) president Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga. “We completely support the goal of protecting small children and pregnant women from lead, but EPA has trampled over the original intent of the Lead Rule. EPA’s forceful focus on paperwork violations, failure to approve a lead-test kit meeting its own standards and ever broadening interpretation of the rule is having a chilling effect on our industry’s ability to have installed sales operations, serve remodelers and get energy-efficient products into homes.
The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) also was pleased with introduction of the bill as it has been heavily involved in seeing changes made to the lead rule.
“While the housing market slowly improves, the door and window retrofit market has played a large part in sustaining our industry,” says Michael O’Brien, president and CEO of WDMA. “The EPA is unnecessarily hurting our economic recovery and consumers’ ability to get new energy efficient products into their homes by expanding the Lead Rule beyond its original intent.”
Rich Walker, CEO and president of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) says AAMA is encouraged by the reintroduction of legislation to both restore the RRP “opt-out” provision and force EPA to produce lead test kits that meet the pass/fail criteria required within the amended rule.
“It has become increasingly apparent through comparisons of historical home renovation activity data and CDC statistics that the RRP has had little to no impact on reducing blood lead levels in at-risk population segments. An aggressive, targeted educational campaign, which explained the potential for lead exposure in older homes, and specific recommendations to protect children would have been much more effective,” says Walker.
Written on May 24, 2013 at 01:59
The Parr Lumber Co. board of directors has appointed James (Jim) D. Boyer president of the company and its subsidiaries.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead this remarkable organization during a rapidly evolving and exciting time in our industry,” said Boyer. “The Parr Co., the customers and partners have been such an important part of my life; I am looking forward to the new role and additional opportunities to serve this company and the customers.”
Boyer was previously Parr’s director of yard operations and assumed the role as president April 29. The search for a new president was launched in late 2012, according to the company.
“Jim has an impressive resume, evidencing the knowledge, experience and commitment necessary to lead the positive growth and further success of the Parr Co.,” said David Hamill, current Parr CEO.
Hamill will remain as the CEO through 2013 while assisting in the transition of Boyer and developing business strategies. Hamill will continue to serve the Parr Co. as a member of the board of directors.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 13:59
The tornados that struck Moore, Okla., earlier this week brought to the forefront a myth that involves glass. According to Valerie Block, senior marketing specialist with DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions, some people believe you should open the windows if you hear a tornado because it will equalize air pressure, potentially saving a roof or home from destruction. This is not true, she explains. Just as in the event of a hurricane, open windows increase internal pressure.
An American flag blows in the wind at sunrise atop the rubble of a destroyed home a day after a tornado moved through Moore, Okla., Tuesday, May 21, 2013. The monstrous tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds up to 200 mph. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Block explains that in hurricane-prone areas one of the main reasons they have gone to impact-resistant glass or protective coverings over the glass is “because you want to avoid having windows/doors break, allowing for the build up of internal pressure in the home,” which can lead to the destruction/collapse of the house.
This myth, however, is not the only comparison that can be made about the two types of storms.
Block says a tornado usually has a very distinct path; one that is very narrow and briefly touches down in many cases. This is compared to a hurricane, which can be very wide.
Just as hurricanes, most common in South Florida, can occur anywhere in the U.S., tornados, most common in the Midwest in an area known as “tornado alley,” can also occur anywhere.
“They can and do occur anywhere and any time of year,” she says.
Another difference is that tornados offer little warning, unlike with a hurricanes where there is a lot of advanced storm advisories and warnings.
“Tornadoes spring up quickly and reaction time is critical to survival,” she says, noting that while hurricanes in themselves cause damage, tornadoes often occur during a hurricane event. This can be due to factors such as thermal instability and vertical shield.
“Almost all hurricanes spawn at least one tornado,” says Block, who pointed out that Hurricane Ivan spawned 117 tornadoes over a three-day period and these affected many states other than Florida, going as far north as Pennsylvania.
When it comes to rating tornados, this is done on what’s called the Fujita scale, which goes from F0 to F5. Likewise, hurricanes are ranked on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which also encompasses five levels.
But what about building codes? The country saw building codes for hurricane-prone regions strengthen as a result of Hurricane Andrew. Experts say, however, it’s a different case when it comes to tornados.
As Thom Zaremba, a code consultant for the Glazing Industry Code Committee, explains, “No building code in use today would result in a structure capable of surviving an F4 tornado. Building codes are generally minimum codes and the criteria used in the development of such codes do not include the forces found in an F4 tornado.”
But there has been some standard development activity in recent years. Though voluntary unless adopted by a state or local jurisdiction, there are options. For example, Block says the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), together developed the ICC/NSSA 500 Standard for the Design, Construction and Performance of Storm Shelters, which provides guidelines on what is needed in terms of tornado protection. Block stresses, though, that goal with codes and standards is first is to maximize safety, keeping people safe and then structural damage.
“Life safety is always first,” she says.
She adds though, “Building codes, which only represent the minimal standards, do not really require storm shelters even in high-risk areas.”
Other documents that do address storm shelters include FEMA 320 and FEMA 361. The 361 document, for example, includes a section on tested glazing material. Glass-clad polycarbonate and multi-ply laminated glass with a 90-mil PVB interlayer were tested.
The test panels were impacted by a 15-pound 2-by-4 travelling at 100 MPH. Results found that “glass shards propelled at great distances and at speeds considered dangerous to the occupants.” Its recommendation was that “unless glazing can pass the missile impact test, windows are not desirable in tornado safe rooms.”
However, there is still a place for glazing products in these tornado-prone areas. As Block noted, a tornado leveled 95 percent of Greensburg, Kan., in 2007, and rebuilding efforts have included the use of glazing. In fact, she says architects placed no limits on the use of glass–expect a recommendation that it be high-performance.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 13:59
U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and David Vitter (R-La.) announced a bipartisan agreement yesterday to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and ensure the safety of everyday consumer products to better protect American families. According to the Vinyl Institute (VI), the legislation “would significantly update and improve TSCA, which has proven ineffective and is criticized by both the public health community and industry.”
The Lautenberg-Vitter “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 would, “for the first time, ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety to protect public health and the environment, while also creating an environment where manufacturers can continue to innovate, grow and create jobs.”
Under current law, the EPA can call for safety testing only after evidence surfaces demonstrating a chemical may be dangerous. As a result, EPA has only been able to require testing for roughly 200 of the more than 84,000 chemicals currently registered in the United States, and has been able to ban only five dangerous substances since TSCA was first enacted in 1976. These shortfalls led the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify TSCA as a “high risk” area of the law in 2009.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 13:59
Ply Gem Holdings Inc. today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 15,789,474 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $21.00 per share. The company has granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 2,368,421 shares of common stock to cover over-allotments, if any. The company’s common stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PGEM.” The offering is expected to close on May 29, 2013.
Total net proceeds to the company from the offering, after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses, will be approximately $306.5 million. The company intends to use the net proceeds to redeem, repurchase or repay a portion of its outstanding indebtedness, to pay transaction fees and other expenses and for general corporate purposes.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 07:59
The recently opened Dubai Energy and Water Authority’s (DEWA) Sustainable Building in Dubai has been awarded LEED Platinum status, becoming the largest public sector building in the world to achieve that status and set a new standard in sustainable building construction. It is also the United Arab Emirates’ first public sector green building, was constructed with 36 percent recycled materials, features high-efficiency insulation, and has been designed to reduce water consumption by 48 percent and energy consumption by 66 percent.
The HVAC units in the 340,000 square foot building are linked to smart building systems. Power is generated by a solar power system with 600 kilowatt capacity and much of the lighting is provided by LED solutions. Public transportation is easily accessible and bicycle parking capacity is sufficient for half of the building’s occupants. Five percent of available vehicle parking spaces are reserved for hybrids and electric vehicles.
Water efficiency features of the building include storm water management, sewerage water treatment and reuse, a grey water treatment plant, water recycling for irrigation, low flow fixtures, regulators, sensor taps, and waterless urinals.
The building was showcased by the Supreme Council of Energy at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2013 that was held in Abu Dhabi in January, which took part in the even to support the UAE’s long-term national initiative, Green Economy for Sustainable Development, that was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 was developed with the goal of effectively reducing energy demand by 30% in 2030.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 07:59
Since 1995, Bill and his wife, Sue, had been designing and building homes as Blue Sky Ventures and, in 2011, they began constructing little buildings with reclaimed materials and decided to shift focus with Hobbitat when they began work on thirteen cabins for the Blue Moon Rising eco-tourism retreat on Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake.
Initially called “Hobs,” the rental cabins have been dubbed “Waldens” after Henry David Thoreau’s masterpiece. Prefabricated off-site using materials that are local and sustainable, reclaimed, or recycled, each Walden is distinct in personality and design.
Staying in a Walden at Blue Moon Rising gives you access to a variety of educational programs in environmental education, art and design, sustainable construction, wilderness survival, health and wellness, and other sustainability topics.
The property is also open to small groups for conferences and retreats. The Deep Creek Lake region is home to rolling hillsides, dense timber canopies, wildlife, and waterfronts that allow canoeing, kayaking, and pedal boating.
As Hobbitat is wrapping up construction of Waldens at Blue Moon Rising, they are taking requests for custom Hobs that can be based on a Walden or configured to meet the homeowners’ needs and preferences. Structures can be delivered to the home site virtually complete, with the ability to be set and weathertight in one day.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 07:59
In the Garden
Q: What is the ugly black stuff on the leaves of my camellia? Is there a remedy?
A: If the leaves on your camellia look as if they’re covered with ugly black soot, your plant has what is commonly called sooty mold. This is a fungus that grows on the honeydew exuded by sucking insects feeding on your plant. You can wipe the sooty mold off the plant by using water and a soft brush, but it will come back unless you deal with the underlying cause. A number of sucking insects can create honeydew, but on camellias, the culprit is almost always cottony camellia scale. Look for narrow, white fluffy egg sacs on the backs of leaves. Each sac contains hundreds of eggs waiting to hatch in early summer, releasing tiny crawling scales that will feed for a short period before creating another egg sac. Although camellias seem to be able to withstand a great deal of scale feeding, if left unchecked the combination of sap loss and sooty mold can weaken the plant over time. Camellias thrive on hard pruning, so the best way to treat this pest is to begin by removing heavily infested branches. Then in the first week of July, spray with horticultural oil, making sure to thoroughly cover the undersides of the leaves. That will put the “el kabotsky” on a good number of the crawlers which are highly vulnerable in this stage. There is only one generation per year, so a good spray will go a long way toward keeping your Camellia cottony-scale- and sooty-mold-free.
Q: Please give me some tips for growing Brugmansia in a container.
A: Brugmansia, commonly known as angel trumpet, is the queen of the tomato family. These South American natives feature huge hanging tubular flowers in a wide variety of colors. In the evening, the blossoms open their nectaries to fill the air with intoxicating fragrance. These beautiful, tropical-looking plants do well in containers and can easily grow to over 6 feet tall and bloom all season long — as long as they receive adequate light, water and nutrition. The container should be at least the size of a whiskey barrel with adequate drainage holes. Locate it in full sun, but not in a blazing hot spot. They are heavy feeders. Feed weekly with a soluble flowering houseplant fertilizer. They’re big drinkers as well. Water any time the foliage begins to wilt, and be prepared to water twice a day in hot weather. Once the weather turns cold, bring your Brugmansia inside and treat it as a huge houseplant, or store it dormant in a cool, dark location such as in an unheated garage. Water your dormant plant just enough to keep the soil barely moist. In spring, move it outside on nice days, bringing it back under cover at night until around Mother’s Day, when it can be left outdoors for the rest of the season. If you host an evening party, put the container on a roller so you can place it where you’ll be entertaining. Budget a little extra for the fete so you can hire a couple of bodyguards. You’ll need them to catch swooning guests after they sniff one of the exquisitely scented flowers.
Ciscoe Morris: email@example.com “Gardening With Ciscoe” airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING-TV.