Code Spurs Upgrades
Attention to safety and restrictive codes are making builders evaluate fastening techniques, USP’s Ruch adds. “Seismic and high wind loads are more important, especially with the visibility that Sandy gave to older building codes. Local codes also are increasing, so communities and builders want to build more resistant buildings. There are more strapping, ties and hold-downs being included. There’s definitely been an expanded use of these products.”
GRK has focused its attention and resources on ensuring its fasteners have code approval, says Jacek Romanski, national marketing manager for GRK Fasteners. “Code changes have become very important, and we’ve responded by ensuring our fasteners are codeapproved for structural values and ESR values. We get calls from builders with questions about structural values, so we know they are interested and want this information. It’s definitely a trend for builders to be more aware of the value of code approval.”
Codes are focusing more attention on energy efficiency than structural concerns, he adds, but even those impact fasteners. “We’ve responded to the demand for more insulation on the exterior of the home by creating fasteners with deeper depths to handle the insulation and protect it.”
Stainless Steel Grows
The range of new materials and applications has made stainless-steel fastening options more popular across the board. “The latest trend we’re seeing is that more manufacturers are including guidelines with exterior building materials, like siding and roofing, and they are recommending stainless-steel fasteners as the number-one choice in their listings,” PrimeSource’s McFarland says. “As a result, builders, remodelers and homeowners are becoming more aware of the installation requirements for these projects and are learning that stainless-steel fasteners are the preferred approach.”
Tiger Deck’s Hafner agrees the use of stainless-steel fasteners is growing. The company’s fasteners have always been made with stainless steel, with a black-oxide treatment. “If customers are spending that much money on hardwood or composite decks, it doesn’t make sense to use a second-class screw,” he explains. “If the deck lasts 30 years, it’s logical that you want a screw that will last that long.”
Decks have definitely introduced more customers to the benefits of stainless-steel fasteners. “Because of the need to use stainless steel with certain decking materials, we’ve introduced our new deck fasteners in both epoxycoated carbon steel and stainless steel, so builders can select the right screw for any given application,” Starborn’s Crossley says.