The 2005 hurricane season pushed plastics manufacturers to make storm resistance a theme during the 2006 International Builders' Show.
At the NexGen ``Peace of Mind'' model home, Rehau Inc. of Leesburg, Va., put several products to use, including cross-linked polyethylene pipe and vinyl windows and doors, to contribute to the theme of storm-resistant construction.
``Working as integrated systems, these components deliver greater benefit than they would independently,'' said Mike Maher, manager for Rehau's construction business unit. ``This ultimately results in maximum economical and environmental benefits for the homeowner.''
Its System 4500 line of windows and doors was used in the project, engineered to meet Miami-Dade County requirements for hurricane impact testing.
The storm factor pushed GE Plastics to showcase its transparent Lexan XL10 sheet storm panels for windows and doors, which help protect homes and businesses from devastating damage, officials said during a Jan. 11 news conference.
``Storm and hurricane protection products for residential, commercial and institutional property is rising in disaster-prone areas,'' said Ruth Fleming, industry manager of building and construction for Pittsfield, Mass.-based GE Plastics.
The problem is that other materials used for removable storm shutters, including aluminum and other polycarbonates, are manufactured in thin strips, she said.
``You lose aesthetics when overlapping in thinner strips,'' Fleming said. The shutters at GE's display were made by Lookout Shutters Inc. of Calhoun, Ga.
Coming off the December acquisition of Nacodoches, Texas-based FrameSaver, Colfax, N.C.-based Endura Products Inc. used the builders show to showcase its water-resistant wood-composite door frames.
Silver Line Building Products Corp. of North Brunswick, N.J., let showgoers see the strength of impact-resistant windows by testing their pitching arms and letting them meet Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds.
Ken Silverman, Silver Line's chairman and chief executive officer, said storm-resistant products contributed mightily to the window maker's banner year.
But hurricanes aren't the only storms to protect against, especially in the Midwest. Therma-Tru Corp. of Maumee, Ohio, emphasized the weather resistance of its composite doors with the first fortified house that will be built in Illinois. The house is being built under a new-home construction program called Fortified for Safer Living, under the Institute for Business & Home Safety.
Officials said the home will have added protection against tornadoes, hail and severe winter weather.
Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., will participate in the Home Builders Blitz 2006, where the industry will help Habitat for Humanity build 1,000 homes around the country, including the devastated Gulf Coast region. Among other products, its Styrofoam insulation will be used in those homes.
``The protection has to be in sustainable development,'' said Scott Young, senior marketing manager, in a Jan. 12 interview.
Vinyl siding extruders have gotten in on the act as well.
CertainTeed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa., spent much of the builders' show touting its Millennium line of storm-resistant siding.
``It's guaranteed not to blow off. It's probably the strongest in the industry,'' said Walt Hoyt, communications director for CertainTeed's Siding Products Group.
The key? A polymer webbing fusion-molded hemming, he said.
It is more likely for a home to have its walls blown away than to lose the Millennium siding, Hoyt said, adding that there were multiple examples of that very thing during the 2005 hurricane season.
Staff reporter Matt Griswold contributed to this story.