Archive for the 'Building Materials' Category

Aging in Place Modifications: Practical & Stylish

Portrait of happy senior woman cutting vegetables in kitchen

A 2015 Houzz report showed that over 50% of homeowners age 60+ are planning to age in place. As the baby boomer generation begins to enter the golden years, home construction and renovation contractors are seeing an increase in accessibility modifications being made. With more spending power than the younger millennial generation, the boomers are also a large player in the interior design industry; frequently updating their home to incorporate the latest design trends. Combining the need for accessibility with the desire to keep the attractive appearance of the home, these modifications are not only practical but stylish as well.  Read below for some simple yet important modifications to make to your home accessible for any generation.

Continue reading ‘Aging in Place Modifications: Practical & Stylish’

Welcome to National Lumber’s Blog

As the largest independent building materials dealer in New England, let National Lumber be your source for all of your building and remodeling products and solutions. The National Lumber Family of Companies includes Reliable Truss, Pro Insulators, National MillworkKitchen Views, Babel’s Paint & Decorating, and Oxford Lumber — covering everything from the rimboard at the foundation to the roof shingles plus everything in between. Visit our websites to see all we have to offer.

Our blog will share information about the wide range of products and value-added services available to you. If you’d like to keep up with the blog via email, you can easily subscribe using the box at the right. Keep up to date with the latest events hosted by National Lumber as well as new products and services by joining our Constant Contact mailing list.

We’re ready to serve you. If you have any feedback, questions or concerns, be sure to leave a comment!

Living Large – Decks Extend Living Spaces

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AZEK Deck with Planters and Curved Bench

One of the biggest trends in decks for 2016 is a continuing focus on turning decks into outdoor living spaces. More specifically, more homeowners are thinking about basically making their decks into a continuation of their indoor living space. Essentially, decks are being thought of more and more as adding square footage to the home.

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Multi-level Deck with Firepit

These outdoor living spaces are used for a wide variety of purposes. Outdoor kitchens are growing in popularity, not just for barbecues, but everyday food preparation. Entertainment and relaxation are traditionally how decks have been used for entertaining friends and family outdoors. Now more homeowners are expanding their use of outdoor spaces with better furniture and specialty lighting.

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Gazebo with AZEK Decking

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Pergola with AZEK Decking

Personalization of deck spaces is also becoming a strong trend. There are so many railing options and accessories available today that no two decks ever have to look alike. Since decks are becoming everyday living spaces, there are more multi-level decks being built than ever before. Incorporating specialty lighting to steps up to raised portions and stairs improves safety in the evening. Architectural elements are becoming more important. Some homeowners even incorporate gazebos and pergolas into their structures to provide shade and ambiance, making them more versatile spaces. Reliable Truss and Components, part of the National Lumber Family of Companies, can design and build gazebos, pergolas, and other similar structures.

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AZEK Resurfacing Pavers

As deck designs evolve, homeowners can also choose from a wider variety of different materials than ever before. Many homeowners opt to mix and match decking materials. Azek has a line of versatile pavers that come in multiple colors to enhance the design of a patio. Or you can add planters and have curved elements in the design. Different colors can be used to map out certain areas of the deck visually based on their intended function. Certain areas of the deck may even have solid roofing so that they can be used even on rainy days.

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TimberTech ReliaBoard Decking with Post-Cap Lighting

If you’re looking to spruce up your existing deck or build a brand new one, you will want to explore the many decking, railing, and deck accessories options on the market today. Many low maintenance products are now available so you spend more time enjoying your deck and less time maintaining it. We invite you to visit a National Lumber location near you to see products from Azek and TimberTech, offering a range of colors for decking, railings and many accessories such as built-in lighting. Decks are an easy way to effectively add square footage to your home, as well as a significant increase in your home’s value.

Thanks to Azek and TimberTech for the beautiful photos and to Home Town Restyling and Philip’s Fences for their insight into 2016 deck trends.

Little Compton, RI Custom Home Showcases National Millwork’s Abilities

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Front portico of custom home in Little Compton, Rhode Island, built by National Millwork.

This custom home in Little Compton, Rhode Island is nearing completion with the beautiful millwork details made by our craftsmen at National Millwork in Mansfield. This front portico, over the main entrance to this house (shown above), is probably one of the most challenging things we have done, only because of its sheer size. There are four beams made out of Western Red Cedar, which are 4 inches thick, almost 5 feet in height and 21 feet long. These were glued in the shop, and cut on the CNC machine. Each one had to be run through the planer, then through the sander (several times) before they were completed. It took four guys to lift and move them every time. The beams holding them up were also pretty large, at almost 6 feet by 8 feet when fully assembled. Note the curved gutter above the doorway, and dentil blocks.

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Exterior Millwork Details

The next picture is a perfect example of what we can do. Starting at the top, above the roof line is a widow’s walk that we built for this customer. All PVC 12″ wide hand rail, with matching upeasings and ballusters. Coming down to the roof line, this is one of the curved gutters that we built (like the one we bring to our shows). There were 12 of these in total, all made out of mahogany and fir. These were glued together and then cut out on our 5-axis CNC machine. Also, at the roof line are the PVC brackets that we made to a total of 755 of them! We assembled all of these in the shop, and the backside of each block was made to match the crown moulding, which we supplied.

By doing all of this custom millwork in our shop this way, the contractor estimated that we saved him over one month of labor on the fabrication, and installation side. Plus the fact that every one is identical.

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Custom Ceilings –  Octagonal (Above), Coffered (Below)

The custom octagon ceiling and coffered ceiling were built by us, including the beadboard and matching trim. These were cut on the CNC machine and assembled in the shop out of poplar. They were then sent out to the job for installation.

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Custom pilasters

We also built 18 PVC pilasters (non-structural columns) and brackets, which were then attached to the columns when installed at the jobsite. This extensive project gave so many opportunities to showcase our capabilities that we look forward to sharing more pictures in the future.

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Interior millwork details

The last photo is of some of the Interior Custom Millwork work we did. This was all made out of poplar, and the columns, and detail blocks were made and assembled in the shop. There were 22 of these columns and block assembles that we made. Also note the curved wall and trim. We made a template of what they wanted, and then we actually made the wall in our shop, which consisted of top and bottom plates and the studs. These were cut on the CNC machine. By doing this we now had the programs to make the radius trim. This really pushed the envelope as to what we could do on the CNC machine because of the height of the trim itself.

What can we do for your customers?

If you are interested in discussing the millwork needs for your next project, contact Bob Nickerson at 508-261-6455 ext. 4124 or email bnickerson@national-millwork.com

 

Simpson Exterior Doors Offer Maximum Performance Against the Elements

Did you know that Simpson Doors offers Performance Series doors that offer additional protection against the elements? Simpson’s Ultrablock and WaterBarrier technology are available on most exterior doors, and each upgraded door comes with a 5 year warranty.

WaterBarrier technology is made from one-piece of Medium Density Overlay (MDO) on the outside – a material commonly used on concrete forms and street signs. It resists moisture absorption and the overlay has a primer topcoat which results in better paint application. You can find if the technology is available on the door you want by visiting Simpson’s Find a Door.

 

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Learn more about Simpson’s Ultrablock and WaterBarrier technologies.

Ultrablock technology already comes standard on many of Simpson’s door lines. This technology offers the best protection against extreme weather and improves warp resistance while still giving you a beautiful genuine wood door.

To learn more about Simpson Doors, visit the National Lumber eShowroom.

Therma-Tru Entry Door Systems Ranked #1 in Quality, Brand Specified and Most Used

When it comes to entry doors, there’s far more involved than just a door. It’s a door system, which includes the door itself, the glass, and components. These components include hinges, sills, and weatherstripping. Everything works together in order to resist the elements, help keep cold drafts out, and keep the heat in. Well-built entry door systems are both energy-efficient and weather resistant.

Therma-Tru fiberglass entry door systems have been rated #1 in Quality by buildings in the 2015 Builder Brand Use Study. Not only that, but Therma-Tru entry doors also ranked #1 in Brand Specified and Used Most, further cementing the brand’s reputation. Each Therma-Tru entry door system comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty. With all components either manufacturer or specified directly by Therma-Tru, you can count on a quality product that trade professionals trust.

See here how Therma-Tru door systems can work for your needs.

Therma-Tru Entry Door System Illustration

National Lumber is a proud Therma-Tru doors dealer, and samples are shown at all nine of our locations. With entry doors a major part of a home’s perceived value because of their huge impact of curb appeals, Therma-Tru door systems are an excellent choice for new construction or remodels. Whether you are a homeowner wanting to improve your own home, a remodeling contractor wanting to offer the best value to a client, or a builder preparing to sell a brand new home, Therma-Tru is the best choice.

Learn more about Therma-Tru doors on the National Lumber eShowroom.

Fiberglass vs. Spray Foam Insulation: Which is More Effective?

With home performance energy efficiency standards becoming higher than ever, competition between different types of insulation is stronger than it has been in the past. While many homeowners may think of insulation primarily for staying warm in the winter, proper insulation also saves on summer cooling costs. While fiberglass batts are still the insulation of choice for builders, spray foam insulation has posed a serious threat to batt insulation’s dominance. However, recently builders seem to be leaning back towards batts as their primary choice. So is one type significantly more effective than the other?

According to Pro Sales Magazine, there has been some extensive testing done with the two types of insulation. The findings suggest that fiberglass batts can be as effective as spray foam. Also, they provide statistics on the drop of using spray foam vs. fiberglass batts by builders. The bottom line appears to be that either is effective, if it is installed with best practices. Whether builders out in the real world are using such best practices is the unknown variable.

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Our spray foam insulation installers have all the necessary safety gear and are trained in best practices, to ensure the best results. (Image © National Lumber & Pro Insulators)

Spray foam insulation certainly does have its benefits in certain specific construction conditions. Like with any insulation, proper installation of spray foam is key to maximize air tightness. Some tests have actually found that spray foam, even with voids, can still perform better than fiberglass at extremely cold temperatures. Spray foam also shows significantly lowered air leakage under extreme conditions. Other arguments in favor of spray foam are that it’s more environmentally friendly and better for those with allergies. It also doesn’t make a good home for pests. Are these benefits worth the added cost over using fiberglass batts instead?

It appears that the economic downturn was a major factor for builders moving back to the use of fiberglass batts as a cost-saving measure. This is because they can install them more easily with their own crews rather than requiring the special equipment and training for spray foam. In areas such as typical exterior walls, with proper air sealing practices, fiberglass will certainly perform just as well as foam. However, the detriment to fiberglass insulation is when the air sealing is not done correctly, allowing air to enter the cavities and pass through the fiberglass, effectively robbing its insulating value. Fiberglass is much less expensive compared to the foam product, even after the builder adds the extra expense of the air sealing products and labor to install with the appropriate fiberglass products.

The benefit to both contractors and their clients is that National Lumber provides the quality materials they need to do the job, or Pro Insulators can provide expert teams to install insulation quickly and thoroughly with best practices using either fiberglass batts or spray foam. Hiring that expertise saves time for the builder’s crew and they move onto the next step of the building process sooner. If their high-end clients want to know they are getting the best value in their insulation, then professional best practices can provide that with either product.

What it comes down to with either type of insulation is that the quality of the installation and air sealing are key. Pro Insulators can tell you which type will perform better for a particular project. Also, it’s important that the installer be up to date with the latest energy codes, which today are always evolving. Pro Insulators always stays on top of these codes. Both types of insulation, properly installed, can meet these codes. Simply put, the choice really is the preferred material.

Our team will leave the jobsite clean and ready for the next stage of work. (Image © National Lumber & Pro Insulators)

Just as you subcontract other specialized portions of every project, make Pro Insulators part of your team for expert results that benefit your profits. We all know that time is money, and getting the insulation installed faster by our experienced crews means that your building crew gets on to the next stage of the project faster. In addition, if a regular building crew makes mistakes installing the insulation, that will lead to failed insulation inspections. When such work has to be done over, it increases costs. The work will be done right the first time with guaranteed insulation installation by Pro Insulators. When word gets out that your homes are more energy efficient because the insulation was done expertly, word of mouth reputation for your company will grow. It’s good for the builder and good for the homeowner having Pro Insulators do the job.



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