Built Stronger to Last Longer

Building product manufacturers have come a long way over the past several decades when it comes to the creation of products for the home. Decades ago wood roofing shingles or wood millwork had a relatively short lifespan due to environmental conditions the products faced. In today's marketplace, homeowners can easily locate building products that have lifetime warranties and are constructed to withstand almost anything Mother Nature throws at them.

"Synthetic products are a huge advancement for the building industry," says Mark Clement, contractor and host of MyFixItUpLife radio show. "In particular, products like DaVinci Roofscapes slate and shake roofing tiles are made of polymer and have a 50-year warranty. And, fiberglass doors, urethane millwork and vinyl windows are all great examples of products constructed for low-maintenance ease combined with very impressive product warranties -- plus they look great!"

If you're constructing a new home, start by paying special attention to the basement. By requesting precast wall panels you can add valuable living space to your home. Superior Walls (www.superiorwalls.com) offers Xi insulated concrete wall systems that are custom created for homeowners and installed in less than 24 hours by certified crews. The energy-efficient walls, which received the first National Association of Home Builders Green Approved rating for foundation systems in the country, help lower energy costs for homeowners.

The Xi wall panels feature steel reinforced concrete and 21/2-inches of insulation to create a permanent barrier against sidewall water penetration. The sturdy panels are designed and constructed in a factory-controlled setting using steel rebar inside the studs and beams for strength. Built to last, Superior Walls Xi foundations systems are backed by a 15-year warranty.

Moving up the house, vinyl windows are crafted for maximum energy efficiency and low maintenance. One manufacturer, Simonton Windows (www.simonton.com), offers a limited lifetime warranty for their durable products. Why vinyl? Because vinyl windows and doors offer excellent thermal performance for year-round comfort and help lower utility bills. Vinyl is an effective insulator, and combined with a strong glass package, provides optimum energy efficiency.

"The energy-efficient features of the Simonton products are very impressive, which is why I selected them for my own home," says Clement. "I've found that a glass package that includes Low E glass, an Argon gas fill and Simonton's Intercept spacer system really outperform other windows I've seen."

Select a fiberglass entryway system married with urethane millwork and you've chosen more building products meant to last. Therma-Tru Doors (www.therma-tru.com) offers a wide variety of reliable, energy-efficient fiberglass door systems. Each door is constructed of durable fiberglass with a polyurethane foam core, can be ordered ENERGY STAR qualified and provides five times the insulation of a wood door. Best of all, fiberglass doors will not rot, split or crack, plus they will not rust, dent or ding.

Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, Therma-Tru doors create the tightest seal possible, creating an energy-efficient envelope that stabilizes interior temperatures and helps decrease the home's energy costs.

When using decorative Fypon (www.fypon.com) trim around a fiberglass entry door, you create a winning combination. The crisp, architecturally-correct details on Fypon's urethane products are crafted from tough, weather-proof, high-performance materials. Pilasters, crossheads and door pediments are all impervious to decay, insect infestation and water damage. Other exterior urethane pieces, such as column wraps, louvers and brackets, are also crafted for long-lasting beauty and low maintenance. Also appropriate for interior application, the urethane pieces are backed by a limited lifetime warranty and are ideal for high humidity areas of the home such as the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.

While all areas of a home's exterior can take a beating from severe weather and harmful ultraviolet rays, the roof is easily the building product that is most subjected to the elements. To make sure your roof overhead can protect your family and home, investigate the benefits of polymer roofing tiles.

"The DaVinci slate roofing tiles on my home resist fire, impact, wind and other weather conditions," says Clement. "These tiles have their colors blended completely throughout each piece and will resist fading over time because of the UV protection built into each tile.

"Products like polymer roofing tiles, which are a good environmental choice and are guaranteed to last for 50 years, are a smart choice for a home. All of these products are a sound investment for a new home and when remodeling an older, cherished home. Doing your research up front to find the best products in the marketplace will result in many savings -- on long-term maintenance, utility costs and repair or premature product replacement."