CUYAHOGA FALLS, OHIO — Inventors often have dreams for their creations.
But in the case of Mike Nahas, a literal dream led to his unique PVC building aid.
Nahas, a drywall contractor in Cuyahoga Falls, was looking for a way to speed up installation and cut down on the relatively high amount of waste associated with gypsum-based wall materials.
In some wallboard layouts, the sections do not always line up with studs. Builders then are faced with cutting the boards to fit — creating waste — or finding a secure way to join the overhanging sections of wallboard together.
Like many builders, Nahas would use pieces of scrap wood to help join pieces of wallboard that did not meet on wall studs.
But that required trips down the ladder and to the scrap pile, and also involved using power tools to cut scraps to the proper size.
Such scraps also do not help when the wallboards are different thicknesses.
In 1996, during the time Nahas was pondering an alternative, his recently deceased father came to him in a dream, he said in a recent interview.
In the dream, his father revealed the shape Nahas later would use for his product: a strip of material flat on one side and two different thicknesses on the other. The different thicknesses allow users to attach one-half-inch and five-eighths-inch pieces of wallboard together without creating an uneven seam.
With the shape in mind, Nahas went to Akron, Ohio, architect David Mann, who drew up a plan for the product.
Nahas also got help from Bud Murphy, now deceased, and his family, owners of a drywall supply outfit in Fort Worth, Texas. Murphy suggested using PVC
because it is relatively inexpensive, it is rigid enough to be sturdy while flexible enough to install easily, and it is easy to cut using just a utility knife and a little muscle.
PVC also will accept the same screws drywallers use to attach wallboard to the studs.
Middlefield Plastics Inc. of Middlefield, Ohio, produced a test run of the fasteners, which Nahas then used for field-testing.
He claims using the fasteners — and not worrying about as many precise measurements — increases his production 30-50 percent.
``It can eliminate several minutes hanging each board,'' he said.
The product also reduces scrap as much as 15 percent because fewer boards have to be trimmed.
Nahas applied for a U.S. patent for the ``wallboard fastening member'' in January.
``There's nothing out there like it,'' he said.
Nahas admits he knows a lot more about carpentry than manufacturing and marketing a new product.
Now he is entertaining offers by people looking to produce the strips.
``There are quite a few people interested in it,'' he said. ``Just for the heck of it, I was looking at manufacturing the product myself. But I think I'd rather sell it off and get some royalties.''