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Posted in Builders

Straight Talk

Minimize callbacks from the ground up

Imagine a dream home with granite countertops, custom cabinetry, and travertine-lined showers. Now imagine cracks in the tile or wide gaps between the countertops and the walls. What went wrong?

The answer may lie with the substrate. And the builder will probably be answering a callback to fix it. To avoid that callback, you need straighter, stronger structural framing components from the very beginning.

Most potential homeowners don’t think to ask about the products behind the walls. As a builder, you have the opportunity to educate homeowners about the potential drawbacks of using lumber instead of engineered wood in the frame of their homes. After all, the same homeowners who are willing to invest in granite and other luxury items are usually the ones who understand the importance of quality. They’re likely to listen—and appreciate the fact that you want to get the job done right.

When homeowners spend thousands on a luxury kitchen or bathroom, they deserve peace of mind that they will be able to enjoy it for years to come. But too often, traditional lumber studs in the wall can shrink, warp or bow. Expensive custom cabinets no longer close correctly. Granite countertops become crooked. These problems sometimes trace back to a weak support system. As a result, you may end up spending extra time installing shims behind the countertop or fixing the problem with a large bead of caulk—creating an eye sore that may only be a short-term solution. When shower tiles start to crack, the homeowner might assume that the tile was installed incorrectly. This can create a pricey callback for you that is likely to occur again.

A better solution is to stop the problem before it starts. Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) products like LP® SolidStart® LSL are ideal for walls that need to be bear extra weight, such as a granite countertop or expensive shower tiles.

According to the Engineered Wood Association (APA), LSL products outperform conventional lumber. Over time, traditional lumber can shrink, warp, twist or bow, but LSL products are stronger and remain straighter. Plus, they resist warping and splitting. Builders can save time and reduce waste on the job site because they will not have to cull through lumber to weed out warped, split or knot-filled wood.

In addition to straight walls, custom kitchens and bathrooms need to be supported from the bottom up. Incorporating an engineered wood floor system provides a number of benefits that can help prevent complications down the road. With engineered wood, components are straight, stable, and consistent, creating even floors that resist shrinking and twisting, which reduces the likelihood of a squeaky floor.

When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, don’t let homeowners neglect the areas they cannot see. Save yourself the hassle of callbacks by using stronger materials on the front end.

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