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Products add value to homes without major reconstruction

Safety Tubs unveiled a bathtub cover decorated as a fire engine or a princess carriage that can hold a child up to about 70 pounds.
Safety Tubs unveiled a bathtub cover decorated as a fire engine or a princess carriage that can hold a child up to about 70 pounds. (Safety Tubs)
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By Sandra Fleishman
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Companies at a to-the-trade only remodeling show in Baltimore recently exhibited a variety of products meant to add value to existing homes without major reconstruction. Affordability, energy conservation, green materials and easy maintenance were recurring themes throughout the show.

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Kitchens

Green products were a big sales pitch for adding value, even for kitchen countertops. One manufacturer is trying to make the typical kitchen sink more functional.

-- Meld USA showed a concrete-based composite surfacing slab called ecoX that is 70 percent post-industrial recycled materials but has a new-agey stone look. It can be used for countertops, tiles and tub surrounds, and can be cut, sanded and polished like natural stone and engineered quartz. Meld's micro-surfacing slabs are also concrete-based but made up to 74 percent recycled glass, which gives them a sparkly finish. The two sell for $85 to $120 a square foot, comparable to mid-priced natural stone and other eco-friendly surfacing materials, the company said.

-- Kohler exhibited a Smart Divide kitchen sink that incorporates a lower divide between the basins of a double sink, making it easier to wash big objects.

Decks

Decking and siding manufacturers stressed alternatives to wood -- and highly efficient LED lighting incorporated directly into deck components.

-- Nyloboard's NyloDeck Composite Deck Board is made of 100 percent carpet fibers and glue that it says is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

-- Transcend decking, a new variety from TREX, contains 95 percent recycled content, mainly plastic bags. This variety also has new, darker colors.

-- Bamboo is a fast-growing renewable resource. Dasso Group, a Chinese company, showed DassoXTR bamboo decking that can be used outdoors or indoors. The company said it expects to market the product in spring.

-- Several manufacturers are tucking LED lights into deck post caps and under the rails and steps. One example is the Pegasus Solar Light by Aurora Deck Lighting, which incorporates LED lights in deck posts. The units sell for about $51.


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