Tom Kraeutler: This is the Money Pit’s Top Products Podcast. I’m Tom Kraeutler at the 2016 re-modelers show in Baltimore, Maryland. Love this show because I get to see a lot of new innovative products that come up. This time of year, with the weather turning bad, it’s really nice to know that you can rely on the outside skin of your house. We’re talking about your siding, your roof, your foundation, to remain resilient to all the effects of weather. It’s getting easier to do that because of the onslaught of products that are not organic; they’re not going to rot. They’re made of various types of composites and other materials that are completely resilient to those types of weather conditions.
One of the major manufacturers is Boral. They have a group of exterior products; both a siding product and a stone product. I’d like to learn more about it right now from Aaron Sims. Let’s talk first about the siding product. I understand that you guys use an ash, actually, to create this. How does that work?
Aaron Sims: Yeah, Tom, thanks. The material is actually poly ash, it’s what we refer to it as. The poly ash, it’s fly ash mixed in with a polymer. A proprietary polymer that we created specifically for this application. When you mix them together, you get a very durable product. It’s impervious to moisture. It’s impervious to insects, and allows the product to be outside, ground contact, stone contact, shingle contact. These things aren’t going to effect it negatively. Wood boring insects don’t like the taste of it; it’s fly ash. It’s not organic, doesn’t rot, it’s not going to come apart. They stay out of it. Tests very, very well with termite resistance, and everything else.
Tom Kraeutler: When it comes out, it’s not painted, right? Then, you can essentially paint it any color you want?
Aaron Sims: That’s correct. We actually pre-prime everything coming out of the factory. We manufacture it, we pre-prime it. Then, with the product stability, the fly ash and the polyurethane, there’s very, very minimal movement with the product. It’s very thermally stable. You can paint it any color with your preferred manufacturer. We actually test coatings in our facilities. If you ever have a question about it, we have technical documents on the website that’ll allow you to pick the right paints from the right manufacturers. You can use just about any paint that you like; acrylic base paints that work very, very well.
Tom Kraeutler: Because it’s not an organic product, it doesn’t have the expansion and the contraction and the absorbent of moisture that say a wood product would have, so I imagine that it makes it a lot more dimensionally stable. That’s why the paint really stands around for longer than it would on an organic alternative.
Aaron Sims: Yeah, that’s correct. To go along with that, moisture cycling is a big issue. When you look at an organic product, or even a fiber cement, or wood composites, you have moisture that will cycle through. It will actually pull the moisture, move it from front to back and around the product. With ours, with it being the fly ash and the polymer, there is no movement of moisture. It’s not pulling it through. It doesn’t have moisture inside pushing the paint off, which one of the leading causes of paint failure. It’s what leaves to paint bubbling, paint cracking. We eliminate that moisture cycling, so it eliminates that point of failure.
Tom Kraeutler: We’re also seeing a lot of consumers now to prefer multiple types of siding on their home, and starting down at the foundation. The idea of the stone foundation, we have a dry stacked stone look going one on top of the other is really popular. To do that with real stone is pretty expensive, and you have to start with the foundation. The foundation has to be wider than the walls so it has something to sit on. Then, you build it up from there. You actually have a panelized version of this that looks pretty darn good. Tell me about it.
Aaron Sims: Yeah. Boral came up with a product called Versetta Stone. The Versetta Stone is a panelized system that allows stone to be installed like siding. If you’re qualified to put four screws in the wall, you’re qualified to use Versetta Stone. The product will actually attach to just sheathing, a water resistant barrier for wall prep, and then attach directly to the sheathing. Four screws go through a metal flange, and the system, the way it works, is when you attach the fasteners, you put the screws in, it actually gives the product a quarter inch gap behind it. That gives you a drain plane, a rain screen, and everything is built in. It eliminates default. Moving out to the surface, it looks, feels, and acts like a stone product. It has the look. It has that rich aesthetic, that inspirational look that you want with the stone. It’s a very durable surface, but it goes up at the speed of siding.
Tom Kraeutler: There’s absolutely no visible seams because it’s all stacked together and locked together like a puzzle piece.
Aaron Sims: Yeah. The ends of the product, and the top and bottom, have a tongue and groove system that allow you to just set everything together. We actually design the layouts of all the stones. We have a lot of variety on the surface. Along with that we hand paint every panel. You’re going to have a very randomized look on the front that does hide those seams very, very well. The inner locking joints, the ends, and top and bottom of the product, let it set together properly. You get a great look at the finish. It is very random. You’re not going to get this constant repetition. It keeps, again, that rich look of stone that you want to have. That you’re looking to achieve.
Tom Kraeutler: A lot more affordable that the real thing, so to speak, both in the installation and the material.
Aaron Sims: Price-wise, we’re going to be comparable material of on the wall material costs. When we look at on the wall, if you look at a traditional manufacturers stone veneer, it’s a complex installation. There’s two layers of water resistant barrier. There’s metal lathe. There’s scratch coat. There’s grout. There’s the stone. There’s all these steps are involved in there. When you look at the cost of all that material versus our material, it’s going to be right in line with each other. Then, labor and the time of installation’s where you really save your money. The product goes up incredibly fast. You’re looking at anywhere from six to eight hundred feet of our product a day on a typical install.
Tom Kraeutler: Fantastic. Aaron Sims, thank you so much for filling us in on the products out from Boral.
Aaron Sims: Thanks. Have a great day.