New Products Road Show

From: Jenny Stanley and Dan Cary of HANDY


Recently, HANDY editors Larry Okrend, Dan Cary, Connie Bastyr and Jenny Stanley, along with HCOA product testing manager Ross Tanner, attended a traveling trade show of sorts presented by some of our favorite home-improvement product manufacturers. The 2012 Media Road Show revealed products designed to not only beautify homes, but also boost durability, safety and energy efficiency—all important factors for homeowners wanting the biggest bang for their buck. Here are a few highlights.

Devinci shingles

Royce Kuntz, with DaVinci Roofscapes, holds up a sample while explaining the company’s new Bellaforté Shake polymer roofing tiles to the HANDY crew. Boasting eight different profiles that resemble natural, rough-hewn wood shakes, these tiles one-up the real thing (and then some) with their 50-year limited warranty. Plus, the product is 100 percent recyclable.



HANDY Editor in Chief Larry Okrend helps to demonstrate the effectiveness of Therma-Tru’s new textured privacy glass options that are now available in every door collection. The four new textures include: Chord, a vertical pattern resembling waves; Chinchilla, subtle lines and curves; Rainglass (shown with Larry’s hand), which resembles cascading water; and Granite, a grained arrangement with surface variations.

asure window simonton

Simonton Windows revealed the new Asure product line of replacement windows and patio doors, which are designed to maximize the amount of natural daylight that enters a home while still providing safety and energy efficiency. The products feature a narrow frame with a stylish brickmould exterior that also enhances curb appeal on the outside.

fypong pvc column wrap

The Fypon PVC Column Wrap isn't a new product, but it was our first time seeing it. If you've got a porch with old posts that are out of alignment or just plain ugly to look at, then this non-structural post wrap is a perfect solution. It is simply install over the existing column and is secured to the floor and ceiling or header. These columns are available in a variety of styles, including straight, tapered, fluted or paneled sides and include the cap, base and external squaring block.


It’s OK to make stuff in the USA

MyFixitUpLifeSo here’s a tale from the “It’s OK to Make Things In This Country” File:

I’m at the home center picking up a sheet of ¾ inch birch/maple plywood for a project. The sheet is nice and straight so I pick it up to put it in the cart. That’s when I and notice the bar-code label and this three-word sentence: Made in China.

Plywood? China? Huh?

I understand globalization (to a point) and without its massive economic force the TV on the wall or the computer you’re reading—and I’m producing—this on would cost a bazillion dollars. And that markets are global. I’m a patriot, sure, but not blind to the realities of how business works. But plywood? It’s cheaper to get cut trees down and mill them in China than Pennsylvania or Idaho? Come on. Electronics and other goods I get. Plywood…That simply doesn’t add up.

polymer slate with snowguardsAnd because I’m not blind to how business works, that’s very reason I have the “It’s OK to Make Things in This Country” File where I applaud companies that find ways to keep jobs and supply chains as “here” as possible. Because after all, just because you can make a product in another nation, it doesn’t mean you should.

Earning its way into the File is DaVinci Roofscapes. 100% of the company’s awesome polymer roof tiles made in the last 12 years have been made here. Boom. Nice. This process feeds our economy via taxes paid, jobs created, and of course, homes improved and beautified. What’s more, a huge portion of the supply chain (the raw stuff the tiles are made out of, etc) is stateside as well, creating what the president of the company calls a ‘multiplier effect’ that helps other businesses run well as well.


MyFixitUpLife’s husband-and-wife hosts Mark & Theresa take you on an insider’s tour of the home improvement industry. Together they design, renovate, and share DIY tips for national magazines, TV, books, on TV and video, and every week on the MyFixitUpLife radio show.

MyFixitUpLife Roof: One Year Later

DaVinci Slate with snow guardsGuest blogger: MyFixitUpLife

What a Difference a Year Makes: Our roof one year later

> White-out blizzards: Check.

> Thunderous downpours: Never seen more rain fall out of the sky at one time.

> Howling wind: Beeeeep…tornado warnings on the Weather Channel anyone?

> Searing heat and frigid temps. Yup. Need both a Gatorade and a scarf (not at the same time though.)

> Problems with our DaVinci Roofscapes roof: No, negative, not a one.

Theresa and I would be lying if we said anything other than the roof performs and looks as well as the day we finished installing it and has markedly improved our experience inside and outside our home.

Performance-wise, our DaVinci slate tiles look new. Nary a tile has curled, warped, deformed, come loose—nothing. The color is dead-on-money the same as it was a year ago. I can’t say that about every synthetic slate roof I’ve seen either. Boom: once and done.

The roof’s color scheme (Theresa selected DaVinci’s European blend) and shadow lines…well…let me think for a second. I was going to use some design jargon here, but the deeper reality is simpler. It makes us happy.

Our roof is now a destination for our eyes, rather than a feature we barely notice—or worse, try not to see (which used to be the case). As we drive up to the house or play with the kids in the yard, instead of the plain-gray-asphalt-wrapper the roof used to have on it we look up to see the color reflect and absorb natural daylight differently. The roof looks different on cloudy days versus sunny ones. The slate-on-slate hip detail gives the roof depth, mass, and texture. The colors slightly undulating between tones make it organic.

Thinking long-term, there’s a comfort pay-off as well. First, we have 49 years left on our warranty. To put that in different terms, our now 2 year old will be 47 when the warranty runs out. Second, for when the hail comes I’ll worry more about the roof window (skylight) glass than losing shingles or repairing holes. Third, I must digress for a minute. I’m writing this over coffee at my local diner and I can hear some gentlemen talking behind me. I hasten to add I couldn’t make this up if J.K. Rowling were helping me write this. They are discussing houses on a golf course. I swear to you one gentleman just said that the houses on a particular fairway he calls “slicer’s alley” have shingles and siding missing.

I’m not sure a few stray golf balls (even a hail storm of them) can wreak that kind of havoc on any well-installed building product—but he does! And that’s the point. if he’s looking to buy one of those houses, well, he won’t. And the homeowner selling it just lost a prospective buyer. How’s the money you may have saved on that commodity roof paying off now?

We don’t have that concern.

Hail, wind, heat, super-cells, six inches of sloppy snow, or golf balls…bring it.

We’re not worried. Indeed, we’ll look forward to not worrying for a long, long time.


MyFixitUpLife’s husband-and-wife hosts Mark & Theresa take you on an insider’s tour of the home improvement industry.
Together they design, renovate, and share DIY tips for national magazines, TV, books, on TV and video, and every week on the MyFixitUpLife radio show.