Top 5 List…

Caveat Emptor - Top 5 Reasons To Avoid Building Materials Made in "Emerging Markets"

Caveat Emptor is Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” The phrase and its use as a disclaimer of warranties arises from the fact that buyers typically have less information about the good or service they are purchasing, while the seller has more information. The quality of this situation is known as “information asymmetry.” Defects in the goods or service may be hidden from the buyer, and only know to the seller. (Wikipedia)

When I ask my teenage daughter if I sound like a broken record and she gazes at me with a blank stare, I realize I have dated myself because she doesn’t know what a record is or how you break them. I’m about to date myself right now when I say that I first learned about Caveat Emptor while watching the Brady Bunch. The internet tells me it was Episode 3, Season 4. The internet even has the script from that episode so for those of you too young or senile to remember the Brady Bunch, this is what happened.

 

Greg: Boy, did I ever get stuck with a lemon. “A little elbow grease.”

Mike: Yeah, well I don’t think a little elbow grease is going to cure rigor mortis. [Mike leans against the car]

Greg: Careful, Dad. You’re liable to crush the door. Some friend that Eddie.

Mike: Ah, come on Greg. Forget about Eddie. You made a business deal – he got the best of you. That’s all.

Greg: Business deal. That’s the last time I’m going to do business with a friend.

Mike: I think maybe you learned something about the business world.

Greg: What d’ya mean?

Mike: Well, look. You take sellers. They’ve got something to sell, right?

Greg: Right.

Mike: Naturally they’re going to make it sound as attractive as possible even if they have to exaggerate to do it.

Greg: You mean lie.

Mike: Yes. Quite often they do. Though they might call it “gilding the lily.” But the important thing is that you’re the

buyer. You have to keep your guard up, see? It’s the old principle of caveat emptor.

Greg: Caveat emptor?

Mike: It’s Latin for “let the buyer beware.” Or to put it in the vernacular, “them who don’t look, sometimes gets took.”

Greg: Well, that Eddie really took me.

Mike: Yeah, he did. He had you hog-tied and happy before you knew it. But you let it happen. Okay. The important thing is that you learned something.

Greg: Don’t worry Dad. Have I ever.

Mike: Good boy.

[Peter and Bobby are in the boys’ bedroom. Greg enters]

Peter: What were you talking to Dad about?

Greg: Oh, a few of the facts of life. Like “caveat emptor.”

Bobby: What’s that?

Greg: It means “let the buyer beware,” in Latin.

Peter: Yeah. Don’t you know anything?

Bobby: Oh, I know Latin. Obby-bay Ady-bray. That’s “Bobby Brady” in Latin.

Peter: That’s Pig-Latin, loser!

Greg: Boy, I sure learned my lesson. When I get rid of that old clunker, this time I’m the seller, and it’s the other guy who has to do the caveat emptoring.

Peter: How ya going to get rid of it?

Greg: Just find somebody who’s dumber than I am.

Bobby: Isn’t going to be easy.

[Marcia and Jan jumping rope outside. Mike and Carol enter from the car]

Carol: Hello, girls.

Marcia: Hi.

Jan: Hi.

Carol: Well it looks like Greg must have got his car running.

Mike: Well he must have used artificial respiration. Hey girls, you know where Greg went?

Marcia: He was showing the car to some boy and then they drove off somewhere. He was trying to get us to say how great that old wreck was.

Jan: He kept winking at us, you know like that? [Jan winks] And he even gave Cindy a candy bar.

[Marcia and Jan exit]

Carol: Well I wonder what that’s all about.

Mike: Hmm, so do I.

[Peter and Bobby enter from the house]

Mike: Boys, Greg sell his car?

Bobby: Yeah. He called the guy a pigeon.

Peter: He said he was gonna really cavet the guy’s eruptor.

[Peter and Bobby exit]

Carol: Cavet his eruptor? What?

Mike: I think he means caveat his emptor.

Carol: Caveat emptor? Now where’d they pick that up?

Mike: Well, I had a long talk with Greg about buying and selling, but I’m afraid he learned the wrong lesson.

 

Aaah the 70’s!

It’s a fact. In nearly every sales transaction, the buyer has less information about the product or service than the seller. This puts the buyer at a distinct disadvantage. If you are buying a fruit smoothie that’s supposed to contain 50% fruit juice but only has 10%, that’s one thing. If you are buying building materials that you believe have been tested and proven safe, that’s entirely different. Here are 5 reasons you should not buy building materials made in “emerging markets.”

Poor Quality

China remains the world’s leading manufacturer and makes everything from steel to plush toys. While some products manufactured in China are of high quality, other products are known for their poor quality. The reality is that products imported from China account for more than 60% of product safety recalls. Between 2001 – 2007, hundreds of millions of sheets of Chinese drywall entered the North American market. The product emitted toxic hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and other gases. When mixed with normal home humidity, the gasses produced a rotten egg smell that created serious health issues for humans and their pets such as breathing problems, eye irritation, fatigue, dizziness, bloody noses, and headaches. As few as 3 sheets of Chinese drywall could contaminate the indoor air quality of a home. The only fix was to have the family move out for several months, gut the house and rebuild the interior. This was a high price to pay for an inexpensive product.

Long Lead Times

Plan on long lead times. The average travel time for a container vessel from Asia to North America is between 15 to 30 days. Documentation, customs clearance, handling, and inland shipping can add an additional 17 to 33 days. Add 6 more days from the dock to your business. These are just freight times. We haven’t included the time to make the product or the time required to get the product from the manufacturing facility to the port. With all manufacturing and freight times added together, a shipment from Asia could take 4 to 5 months to arrive between order and receipt of goods.

No Warranty

Unlike products that are purchased locally and manufactured on the continent, products from emerging markets might not have a warranty from the manufacturer. North American courts have little to no leverage when dealing with Chinese manufacturers if they don’t have a North American presence. This typically means the warranty defaults to the company doing the importing. Should you have a warrantable claim, hopefully, the importer will take full responsibility and have deep enough pockets and a strong sense of corporate responsibility and remedy situation. Hopefully.

Don’t Meet North American Testing Standards

North American produced building products are required to pass certain testing criteria to assure the industry and the purchaser that the products are safe and that they do what they claim they will do. ASTM alone has over 13,000 standards “…instrumental in specifying, evaluating and testing the dimensional, mechanical, rheological and other performance requirements of the materials used in the manufacture of main and auxiliary building parts and components…These building standards are helpful in guiding manufacturers, construction companies, architectural firms and other users of such parts and components in their proper fabrication and installation procedures, as well as the possible hazards involved during these processes” (ASTM website). Chinese manufacturers might produce official-looking documentation suggesting they have surpassed ASTM and other testing requirements, but it might not be true. The testing results might not apply to the product you are purchasing because it’s out of date, or the results might not have been produced by a certified neutral third party. You simply might never know if your product meets today’s North American testing standards.

Lawsuits

Poor Quality + No Warranty + No Testing = Lawsuits! Should someone get injured or sick because of the product you imported or installed, you could find yourself in court. Should a product you imported or installed fail to perform as claimed, you could find yourself in court. The shadow of poor quality, untested building materials is long and the associated risk lasts years. While the price might be right, emerging market building products have the potential to harm others, you and your business.

Buyer Beware Indeed!


EasyTrim Reveals Fiber Cement Aluminum Trim System Multi-Family Project

Top 5 Reasons Exterior Aluminum Trims Are The Best Trims Available

There are improvements in building materials and installation methods that are easily understood and valued by the average homeowner because the products are highly visible on a home and you may have even experienced a problem with the product yourself. Triple pane windows, fiber cement siding and spray foam insulation are examples of products that are clear improvements over the products that proceeded them whose benefits are easily understood by the average homeowner. Fiber cement siding is clearly superior to wood siding because it’s flame, rot and insect resistant. Fiber cement is superior to vinyl siding because it won’t melt, is impact resistant and can be easily painted. Fiber cement has become the #2 siding product based on their benefits, long term value and is amongst the best siding options available.

Exterior siding manufacturers are constantly experimenting with new materials and processes for continuous product improvements. Often neglected and misunderstood is the role exterior trim products play in terms of aesthetics and performance. Exterior trims are the products that siding butts against at corners and around openings like doors and windows. Wood trims evolved to engineered wood, then PVC, then to fiber cement. Despite the evolution of materials, traditional trim boards functioned the same way. The latest improvement to trim “boards” has been with aluminum. Aluminum trim products represent a giant leap forward compared to traditional trim products because of how they are fastened, how they perform over long periods of time and their exceptional life cycle qualities. Here are 5 reasons why aluminum trims are the best exterior trims available.

1 Piece Outside Corners

Traditional outside corners require two boards that are butt together and fastened to the wall with face nails. As the building settles and moves, these boards can pull apart leaving an unsightly gap creating openings for water to penetrate behind the cladding. Aluminum corners are one piece profiles which completely eliminates the risk of pulling apart. Aluminum trims are also “blind nailed” therefore the nails are unseen, so the homeowner will never have to look at over-driven or asymmetrical nailing ever again. One piece construction also happens to be easier and less expensive to install than two individual trims.

Long Life Cycle

Subject to the best conditions, wood trims have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years and PVC trims have a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years. Wood trims don’t perform as well in wet climates and PVC trims under-perform in extremely hot and extremely cold environments. Fiber cement has a long life cycle provided it is installed properly and protected against water intrusion. Improperly installed and a failure to protect from water will cause fiber cement trims to fail long before they should – think years instead of decades. Aluminum trims are impervious to the elements. Neither water, humidity, extreme hot or cold will effect aluminum in a negative way. Unlike fiber cement trims, aluminum trims will perform as intended even if not installed perfectly. SPOILER ALERT – This definition of Life Cycle applies to the aluminum trim product only and not the Life Cycle of the aluminum itself, i.e. Sustainability.

Caulk-Free

Wood, PVC and fiber cement trims all have one thing in common: they all require caulk. Caulk application during siding installation can easily go wrong because it is a skilled process. The most common rookie mistakes are using the wrong caulk product and not leaving a gap wide enough for the caulk to set on three sides. Assuming you have a skilled applicator and the proper caulk has been used, you will still need to inspect all of the caulk joints on your home every few years to make sure they are still functioning, including those on your second and third floors – not easy. As the siding moves and a home settles, caulk can break open and allow water to flow into the wall assembly, potentially rotting the sheathing and creating a breeding ground for mold. Aluminum trims have pockets for cladding to sit inside, protecting the cladding edge and eliminating the need for caulk. The siding can move around inside the pocket safely while water that is driven inside the pocket is pulled down and away from the wall assembly by gravity. Caulk-free = responsibility free.

Modern Aesthetic

Modern architecture is booming in popularity as homeowners young and old choose to express their individuality and lifestyle choices through their unique modern home. The ultra-low profile, shadow reveals and anodized finish options of aluminum trims make them must have accessories for anyone considering buying or building a modern home. Aluminum trims can be color matched with the inset cladding to create subtle shadow details or used as a contrasting color to accentuate architectural lines and repeating shapes. Aluminum trims have essentially become jewelry for your modern home.

Sustainable    

Aluminum trims are recyclable and a wise choice for the environmentally conscious.

“Aluminum recycling benefits present and future generations by conserving energy and other natural resources. It requires up to 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than to produce primary metal and thereby avoids corresponding emissions, including greenhouse gases.

For most aluminum products, the metal is not actually consumed during the product’s lifetime, but simply used, with the potential to be recycled without any loss of its inherent properties. Therefore, the life cycle of an aluminum product is not the traditional “cradle-to-grave” sequence, but rather a renewable “cradle-to-cradle”.

This property of infinite recyclability has led to a situation where today around 75% of the almost one billion tonnes of aluminum ever produced is still in productive use, some having been through countless loops of its lifecycle.” (The International Aluminum Institute – 2016)

Ease of installation, exceptional all-weather performance, striking good looks, eternal sustainability and overall value are just some of the reasons aluminum trim products have captured the attention of architects, builders and savvy homeowners across North America.


Top 5 Reasons Your Next Home Will Be Modern

Drive around your neighborhood and you will notice that modern homes are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. Amongst the craftsman, colonials, ramblers, Cape Cods and Tudor homes, modern and contemporary homes are dotting neighborhoods across North America at an increasing rate. The increased popularity of modern homes doesn’t sit well with everyone. From city zoning officials to some long term residence declaring NIMBY (not in my back yard), modern homes represent a blight on their neighborhoods that should be slowed or halted altogether. Yet more contemporary homes continue to be built and more people want to live in them. Modern design is on fire due to demographic and psychographic factors that can’t be easily halted. Get used to seeing more modern and contemporary homes, because the underlying factors and long-term trends predict the movement is here to stay.

multi family - easytrim reveals with clear anodized panel trims
multi family - easytrim reveals with clear anodized panel trims

Evolving Architecture

  • Major architecture of the last 3 decades strongly skews to modern including buildings like the Marilyn Monroe Towers in Toronto, the Rock and Roll Museum in Seattle or the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in New York. The style and WOW factor of these buildings are getting incorporated into large multi-family apartments, condos and university dorms. These buildings influence home buyers ideas regarding some of the architectural elements they’d like to see on their single family homes. Architecture as art and expression has successfully moved from large buildings, to large multi-family buildings to single family units. When is the last time you saw a Tudor home that took your breath away? Today’s home buyer wants a visually impactful home like the larger buildings they see all around them.

single family - easytrim reveals with clear anodized panel trims
single family - easytrim reveals with clear anodized panel trims

Self-Expression

  • Today’s society places more importance on individuality than conformity. People simply don’t want to be just another brick in the wall and living in a house that’s a carbon copy of the other homes in their neighborhood. That might have been cool in the 50’s, but not anymore. Increasingly, today’s home consumer wants their home to be almost like a second skin or outfit they wear to announce who they are in the world. Modern homes allow people to create that impression from scratch. No one likes showing up to a party where three other people are wearing their outfit. This desire to be viewed as unique now extends to the home we reside in and modern homes quench that thirst.

single family - easytrim reveals with black anodized panel trims
single family - easytrim reveals with black anodized panel trims

Millennials

  • Growing up in a world that believes new is inherently better than old, Millennials are predisposed to all things modern and that includes the homes they will buy or rent. Fueled to a large degree by evolving technology, many young digital citizens have grown up seeing and admiring contemporary architecture. They see it on Pinterest, on study trips abroad and scattered throughout pop culture. To this group, moving into a home that looks like their 60-year-old granddads is the definition of uncool. As Millennials move into their home-buying years they want homes that authentically stand apart from the crowd, draped inside and out with modern materials and furnishings just like the cool dorm they lived in at college or the ultra-contemporary home they saw in a movie they were streaming on Netflix.

single family - easytrim reveals with clear anodized panel trims

Age Defiance

  • Instead of embracing old age and going gently into that good night, Boomers and Gen X’ers are mounting a full-on assault against father time and the appearance of being old. In that well-funded fight, Boomers and X’ers enlist Botox, testosterone supplements, personal trainers and organic foods to resist aging. As they become empty nesters and abandon the homes they raised families in, many are seeking to downsize into a modern home. Still feeling young and hip, this demographic has the money to spend on the home they want as an outward expression of their personality and life’s accomplishments. Whether they sell the old home or commission an extensive renovation of their current home, Boomers and X’ers heavily skew towards contemporary design. Having a unique modern home that the young neighbors compliment on a daily basis is just another way to stay young yourself.

single family - easytrim reveals with clear anodized panel and LAP trims
single family - easytrim reveals with clear anodized panel and LAP trims

Blame it on demographics, blame it on the young, blame it on the old, the reality is that a variety of forces has lead us to this moment in time where modern and contemporary homes are more popular than ever and they’re here to stay.