More than 100,000 housing professionals, product manufacturers and homebuilders attended the 2006 International Builders Show, in Orlando, Fla. last week. Among them: The Early Show's resident home improvement expert, Danny Lipford, the host of "Today's Homeowner."
The trade show, the largest of its kind anywhere, covered more than 1.5 million square feet, the equivalent of more than 40 football fields.
From that huge assortment, Lipford picked his favorites, and shares his picks with co-anchor Rene Syler Thursday.
Heat & Glo Aqueon Hydrogen-Burning Fireplace
If you're looking for a unique conversation piece and have an unlimited budget, why not add a little fire and water to your home? The Heat & Glo Aqueon is the world's first fireplace fueled by — water. It creates fire from water by using an electrical current to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Since it burns hydrogen, no harmful byproducts, such as carbon monoxide are produced, so no special sealed glass or venting is required.
CraneBoard Board & Batten Solid Core Siding
Maintenance-free siding has a tendency to look the same: great for a colonial or Cape Cod, but not for a wider range of architectural styles. That's changed with this board-and-batten look-alike. The versatile, insulated siding can be used as an accent to add dimension and charm to one part of a home's exterior, or used on the entire house. Besides low maintenance, it offers energy savings and excellent impact resistance. cranesiding.com; $4-$6 per square foot, depending on location
Fypon Urethane Balustrade Systems
This urethane balustrade system can help you create a regal architectural look for your home, without the maintenance nightmare of elaborate wood railings and turned balusters. Used to define entryways, roofs, and decks, this product provides the charm of Old World craftsmanship without any worries about rotting, warping, splitting, or consumption by voracious insects.
fypon.com; Starts at $120 per lineal foot depending on the size and style selected
Moen Outdoor Sill Faucet
Moen offers the first outdoor spigot to deliver both hot and cold water. The single-handle design provides the convenience and ease-of-use of an indoor faucet, yet enables you to make the water coming out of the end of the hose just the right temperature for washing the dog, filling the baby pool, or washing your car. Not only is the product easy to install, it's a frost-free spigot and includes a cartridge that reduces scalding risk.
The biggest trend in the home building and remodeling industry over the last 10 years has been customization: Why shouldn't your home be a perfect expression of you? Jeld-Wen has extended that privilege to a component that normally looks the same in every home: doors. You can now add a custom look to your interior doors in a simple and affordable way. Choose from 70 designs or submit your own, and the company will have it carved in the door for a reasonable price. It's great for kids' rooms, playrooms and home offices. Orders only take two weeks to fill and can include names, animals, flowers, sports themes or even logos.
RIDGID 9.6-volt Pivoting Screwdriver
Two trends in cordless tools in recent years are improved batteries and designs that focus on accomplishing a single task well. Whether you're putting together a complicated toy or furniture for the den, this small, cordless screwdriver, with its long-running battery, will be a huge help. The pivoting head enables you to use the screwdriver in a pistol grip attitude or as an in-line screwdriver, useful when you're working underneath a cabinet or counter. Each screwdriver comes with a battery charger and two batteries that recharge in 20 minutes. One of the biggest bonuses with this product is its lifetime service agreement: Once registered, the product is always eligible for free parts and service.
Kohler Water Tile
The Water Tile system is an attractive new way to customize your showering experience with multiple jets, but without lots of obtrusive plumbing jutting from the walls. Each tile is nearly flush to the wall, yet contains a water jet and rotates in every direction. This makes it possible to install the adjustable body sprays in a number of ways in your showering area: on the wall, ceiling, or at an angle at the intersection of a wall and ceiling. In addition to the water tiles, a low profile wall-mount showerhead is also available in two different spray intensities.
kohler.com; $120 each