Each year home builders, remodelers and companies that manufacturer home building products come together to share information about the home building and remodeling industry. This year's International Home Building Show (IBS) is being held at the Las Vegas convention center. It's hard to describe a show with more than 125,000 building industry professionals from around the globe, so I'll try to give you a glimpse into the variety of products and materials I learned about today.
Had a nice chat with Marsha Walker from Steve's Doors, as we walked over to the convention center from the hotel. She works for Steve's doors, a company I'd never heard of before although they've been in business since 1866. Marsha offered insight into the industry, as Steve's customers are lumberyards. They buy a minimum of 200 doors, which I understood better after talking to someone else about the impact of shipping costs on prices.
Next I had a long discussion with Jeff Long at Reliance Worldwide Corporation, manufacturer of Sharkbite Plumbing Solutions. I was super excited to learn about their Shark Tech Academy, begun to teach plumbers how to use their evolving set of home building products … and classes are open to homeowners too, so watch for more information on this great resource.
Leaving the plumbing exhibit, I had to stop and admire some great fireplace exhibits as they obviously were done by an interior designer/decorator. The one here captured my imagination as the fireplace is framed like a piece of art, so it feels more natural where we're so used to a fireplace dominating a wall … and now we know, there are options for how we integrate fireplaces into our decor.
Continuing on my journey, I passed this elegant sliding door. There's a tradeoff with interior doors, between privacy and letting natural sunlight shine through from one room to another. The opaque glass in this door makes both possible, which I thought was a novel solution.
We used to use a lot of Quikrete in my handyman business, mostly for the different repair jobs we did where concrete was essential. What was fascinating here was how the Quikrete product line is evolving to deliver home building products that go beyond repairs, like the new “countertop” product that makes it much easier to make a concrete countertop … and the sink too!
Are you wondering why I included this photo? It represents one of my favorite discoveries from DriCore Products, integrating multiple home building products to save you time when finishing a basement. The diagonal SmartWall panels show how a lot of the work is eliminated when the drywall panels connect with tongue and groove, and have the insulation already affixed to the back of the panels. There are channels (small black hole) in the insulation to run wires and you can order your panels with outlet and switch boxes already installed.
Enjoyed talking to Martin Savage from Manissa, a UK company that delivers heating solutions. Wondering how these towel racks heat a house? If you look to Martin's left in the photos, you see four white vertical bars, and that's a designer radiator in Europe where central heat isn't as common or efficient as it is in the US. They've taken the concept and created a wide range of heating products that can heat your towels or a chilly bathroom, before another heating source makes the room comfortable.
Fell in love with OrganizeMyDrawer.com because you get to design the acrylic drawer dividers and trays, exactly how you want them. Andrea Qualkinbush and her husband founded the company after created these organizers for their own home. They spent a lot of time developing the software you use to design your drawer, and it delivers the exact data to their laser system which cuts the individual pieces to your specification.
And who isn't looking for the ideal storage for the lids on your pots and pans. DBS Drawers offers “Ready 2 Build” drawer components, aimed primarily at custom cabinetmakers who can then focus on the cabinet boxes and doors. They workmanship was excellent as one of the things I always check when visiting houses, is whether the drawers are dovetail or stapled … and yes, these were all dovetail.
Walker Zanger has the most beautiful tile, which they showcase on Facebook with wonderful collages as many of their designs are intended for mix and match. What fun it was to experience their tile up close, and never would I have imagined that this 3-dimensional tile is made from concrete… but it is, and yet it felt soft and cozy.
New Trends in Home Building Products
Well that wraps up day 1 of the show, and who knows what tomorrow will bring although I hope to visit the New American Home that's built to coincide with the show each year. From today's visit, here are the things that jumped out for me:
- Focus on productivity with new products that save time, for home professionals … and do-it-yourselfers.
- More overseas companies are at the show building sales channels to bring their products to the US market. There are a lot of Chinese companies trying to break into the market with bathroom products dominating, but I also met more Canadian, Australian and European companies too.