Last week, over 250 of the most influential contractors, suppliers, manufacturers, and associates gathered in National Harbor, just outside Washington, DC for INTEX Expo 2019, the largest trade show featuring the wall and ceiling industry.
L&W Supply was proud to attend the conference and showcase some of our newest developments and products, as well as visit our friends and partners in the industry. Special thanks to AWCI and CISCA for organizing the conference.
“At L&W Supply, we understand a new breed of Building Products Distributor is emerging. Companies want to build deeper relationships with vendors and customers based on a better understanding of the true value created by their services. INTEX 2019 is where you’ll find industry leaders forming connections with innovative partners to help grow their businesses.”
-Martin Naeger, National Merchandising Manager, L&W Supply
Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways we gathered at the show, along with some of the most exciting new products.
Enhanced Safety Features
Over the past few decades, there has been an evolved understanding of the steps needed to protect laborers from potential hazards on the jobsite. We were happy to note that there were a number of different companies who were promoting new products with an added emphasis on worker safety. The most exciting (and fun) booth featuring new safety tools belonged to Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons. Using a virtual reality headset complete with immersive audio, attendees could try two different training demonstrations: boom lift operation and height safety training. Other safety innovations (detailed below) includes products from STI Firestop and RockSteady.
Green + Sustainable Materials
The push for more environmentally friendly materials has a long history in the industry, but only until recently has technology allowed companies to take a deeper look at reducing their carbon footprint. It has always been tricky for building planners and architects to balance the need for both energy-saving materials that reduce energy costs along with the need to create breathable homes. Knauf Insulation was one company that stood out with their ECOSEAL system, a high performance and affordable air and thermal barrier designed to help homeowners save in energy costs. Some of the other companies promoting new energy-efficient solutions include USG and CertainTeed.
Reducing Labor Costs by Eliminating Steps
The effects of the labor shortage on the industry as a whole has pushed vendors and manufacturers to come up with new solutions for eliminating steps by consolidating materials and the installation process. We saw exciting new additions to the drywall and exterior wall sector with the merging of different types of materials. Marino\WARE was promoting a new time-saving framing system called SoundGuard, requiring half as many studs and track to install. Other companies like National Gypsum and Dryvit, with their Outsulation line, were among the innovators in this area.
RockSteady’s booth was backed by friendly and knowledgeable reps who were happy to chat with us about their flagship product, the RockSteady Drywall Stabilizing Clip, a device designed to eliminate the harm of potential falling drywall. This small clip – durable and reusable – offers reliable protection for contractors and jobsite visitors by removing the possibility for accidental stack tip-overs by securing many sheets of drywall into a stabilized stack.
Dryvit, creators of flexible wall systems, featured a whole host of new products for visitors to check out. With a variety of different options in exterior walls and finishes, Dryvit’s aim is to be the most trusted choice for both contractors and architects alike.
NewBrick was a featured product by Dryvit that offers the aesthetic beauty of traditional clay bricks without the time-consuming installation. It manages to be much lighter, more energy-efficient, and far easier to install, with the potential to cover 30% more wall surface in a day over regular brick. Due to its light weight, transportation is also significantly easier, without sacrificing any durability in the process.
Over at USG’s booth, we loved to see that they were highlighting a project that we both worked very hard to secure – Stanford University Escondido Village – that demonstrated the benefits of their 5/8’’ Sheetrock® Brand EcoSmart Panels Firecode® X along with USG’s Wall-to-Wall Drywall Suspension System. The Sheetrock Brand EcoSmart Panel is an lightweight and sustainable wallboard that is up to 30% lighter than standard type X. The Sheetrock EcoSmart panels stood out due to their strong performance as well as environmental friendliness.
By using 1/4th less water during production, as well as a 20% reduction in carbon emissions and fossil fuels, the Sheetrock board is the only wallboard that meets the Architecture 2030 challenge for sustainable materials. Products like these are effective at not only saving contractors time and money, but also reducing their overall carbon footprint in the process.
Over at STI Firestop’s booth, we learned a great deal about the unique strides they were making in innovative fire protection systems and other safety tools. They create effective safety solutions designed to prevent the spread of fire, smoke, and dangerous fumes.
In particular, the EZ-Path Fire-Rated Pathway is a unique safety tool we wanted to highlight. Designed for high-volume cable conditions in settings like healthcare and data communications, the EZ-Path protects cables and wires from fire exposure with intumescent pads that automatically expand and swell to resist against smoke and flames – without any user manipulation. It not only provides exceptional protection, but its unique design allows for easy additions, moves, and changes. By allowing users to add or remove any number of cables without the hassle of re-installing the device or cutting a new hole, the EZ-Path is an amazing time saver for contractors.