Orlando, Fla. — Winchester, Va.-based Evolve Manufacturing LLC took home top honors from the International Builders' Show (IBS) for developing an artificial stone that is the first in the world to be installed by face nailing.
The family owned composite manufacturer won the 2022 Best of Show award at IBS, which wrapped up Feb. 10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
The company's Evolve Stone building material is made from a proprietary fiberglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) mix that is installed by face nailing — an advance that puts stonework in the hands of homeowners and siding installers at a time when the construction industry is facing a shortage of skilled labor.
"This is not only a unique and innovative product, but solves a big issue of moisture intrusion and meets new code requirements with minimum labor. It's extremely user friendly for all skill types from DIY to professionals," according to a summary from IBS judges who considered 40 products in eight categories.
Evolve Stone weighs 2 pounds per square foot, which is five times lighter than traditional concrete-based stone veneer. The color is infused throughout, it can handle freeze and thaw cycles and can be installed over OSB or plywood, over a concrete foundation, around a fireplace, as an accent wall or even an arched ceiling.
CEO Greg Fritz called the award an amazing honor.
"We truly took something to market from the perspective of the installer and the builder — from how the material works all the way down to how it is packaged. It's the first face-nail stone in existence. We're very, very proud of it," Fritz said at an awards ceremony.
In thanking the show's organizers, the National Association of Home Builders, Fritz said: "The world has been a crazy place and we didn't have the ability to get [Evolve Stone] in front of people until really this show."
Evolve Stone had won the "most innovative building material" category, which put it in the running for best of show.
Construction industry experts and media judges looked at 200 entries in eight categories to select 40 finalists and eight winners of the Best of IBS Awards. The judges considered the products' innovation, functionality, design and user-friendliness.
Other product winners with plastic ties included: the first nailable solar shingle by GAF Energy in the most innovative construction tool category; polypropylene privacy panels by Barrette Outdoor Living in the best outdoor product category; and a multi-point window lock by Endura Products Inc. in the best window and door category.
Last month, GAF's Timberline-brand nailable solar shingles won Best of Show at CES 2022 in Las Vegas.The so-called "energy shingles" are less than a quarter-inch thick and integrate with traditional shingles.
GAF Energy officials said the company is uniquely positioned to bring residential solar to the mass market as the sister company of roofing manufacturer GAF, which produces the shingles and products that go on about 1.25 million of the 5 million new roofs installed on U.S. homes every year.
Barrette's category-winning PP panels come in two sizes and a range of colors and patterns for use as a deck cover or divider wall for outside or inside the house. The panels are twice as thick as traditional plastic lattice and have been engineered to withstand extreme weather temperatures and resist impact.
The winning product for Endura, which manufactures fiberglass doors, is a one-of-a-kind multi-point lock for doors called PanoLock that works in addition to the deadbolt and can be installed with off-the-shelf hardware. The lock improves security by deflecting impact during attempted break-ins and it forms a better seal against the weather by pulling the door further into alignment.
Other finalists for IBS awards were in the same category as Evolve Stone, Arcitell LLC and Trusscore Inc.
Sugarcreek, Ohio-based Arcitell developed Qora-brand artificial stone panels with a rigid foam core, fiberglass-reinforced layers and a surface layer that incorporates real materials for the look and feel of real brick and stone.
Palmerston, Ontario, Canada-based Trusscore made it to the finals for its recyclable PVC wall and ceiling board, which is an alternative to drywall and fiberglass-reinforced plastic panels for basements, garages and other household areas. The panels have a smooth, durable finish that is easy to maintain and can withstand damp or wet conditions.