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Building Systems

Undeniably the most important facet to great architectural and interior projects is the detailed design that goes into the building and construction. From facade systems, windows, and doors, to architectural woodworking and finish carpentry, building elements are constantly updated to be more durable, environmentally-friendly, and intuitive to the needs of our modern society.

Integral to a building’s form and function, building accessoriesconstitute the details filling up the spaces between high-volume materials like concrete and steel. Examples include fasteners, primers, trimboards, pegboards, ridge vents, flashing, stair nosing, expansion joint covers, weather seams, and bar grating. Also includes adhesive products like grout, sealant, and mastic.

As simple as water, aggregate, and cement, concrete has a plethora of applications for both exterior and interior use. Browse our selection of reinforcing products, chemicals, precast concrete, and maintenance material.

Beyond mere exterior doors, buildings and residences incorporate a variety of entrances and exits – garage doors, sliding doors, French doors, or patio doors made from materials like wood, glass, and steel are just a few ways to allow air, light, and energy to harmoniously flow throughout a building.

Made by fixing or binding strands, particles, fibers, or veneers of lumber in order to create structural members like beams, floor trusses, and roof trusses that are engineered to precise design specifications for strength and stability. Also encompasses finish products like flooring, ceiling panels, wall cladding, and countertops made by fixing hardwood veneers to a base of ply layers made of less expensive woods and reclaimed wood strands.

From minimal interior renovations to large architectural facades, glazing can be more than a stunning visual. It's key for thermal performance, protection from moisture, acoustics, and safety. Laminated, tempered, tinted, coated, or insulated glazes may be used to guide a project and achieve the look or efficiency desired.

From simple awnings, roller shades, canopies, and pergolas to high-tech films and large-scale architectural features such as outriggers, vertical blades, brise soleil, and mechanized systems that maximize efficiency by adjusting to the sun’s intensity.Bar grilles, airfoils, and custom designs in perforated metal are popular styles for building facades. Materials include metal and extruded aluminum with finishes available in Kynar paint, powder coat, baked enamel, and anodized metal.

A facade is the entire visible exterior of a house or building while cladding refers to the elements that make up the facade, excepting the windows. There are many types of cladding and a mix of materials is often used. Options include brick, wood, concrete, stone, vinyl, architectural terracotta, metal panels (including decorative perforated sheets, aluminum, steel, and copper), laminated transparent or opaque plastic, porcelain tiles, glass or ceramic mosaic panels, and living green walls.

Made from captured wood waste and resin, fiberboard (often known as Medium Density Fiberboard or MDF) is made of uniform wood fibers pressed and glued under heat and pressure, while particleboard is made of different types of wood waste (including sawdust). Because fiberboard is denser and more uniform it is more versatile, while particleboard is less expensive. Applications includecabinets, decorative panels, window and door casement, baseboards, furniture, sound proofing, structural sheathing, and as underlayment for flooring and countertops.

Old-fashioned to contemporary, fireplaces are in style year-round. That's why rustic, wood-burning fireplaces and modern gas or renewable fuel-burning types are as popular as ever. Consider a new built-in wall fireplace or freestanding fireplace to accentuate the ambiance indoors or on an outdoor patio.

An alternative method to build foundations and walls. ICFs are parallel sheets of foam joined by small connectors to leave a large gap between the two (usually around eight inches). ICFs are stacked and then concrete is pumped into the cavity to create the foundation or wall. Used in both residential and commercial applications, ICFs have several advantages over traditional construction including strength; durability; safety; energy efficiency via improved insulation; and resistance to insects, mold, rot, and mildew.

A variety of techniques and materials used to retain heat or cold and improve energy efficiency. Placed between wall studs or over floor joists, batt and blanket insulation is made of fiberglass, cellulose, wool, and green or recycled materials such as reclaimed blue jeans. Board insulation is rigid foam attached to walls or wood members with connectors. Sprayed/blown insulation features foam, wool, or cellulose fiber that is sprayed between walls, onto ceilings or foundation walls, or into cavities between floor and ceiling joists.

Draperies come in multiple materials and styles: natural fabrics like linen, wool, velvet, and cotton; polyester and polyester blends for easy clean-ability and antimicrobial performance that are ideal for healthcare and educational venues. Roman shades provide a classic look for intimate environments, while large mechanized shade systems modulate light and minimize heat gain to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

Grilles are lattice designs made of wood or metal, typically used for air return or heat/AC delivery in HVAC systems. Louvers adjust to increase or decrease the opening in order to control the volume of air. Other uses include ventilation of cooking appliances, fire and smoke vents, and explosion and pressure relief vents. Architectural wood and metal grilles may be used for interior or exterior decorative features.

Wood’s vulnerability to insects, rot, mold, and decay can be reduced with a variety of preservation methods such as chemical infusion (typically copper-based), pressure, or kiln drying. Preserved wood comes in many forms: reclaimed wood from old structures, fallen trees, and new treated lumber. Applications include exterior siding, flooring, ceilings, and outdoor uses like decks and railings.

From the classic white picket to industrial security applications made of metal, fences and railings can be purely functional, exclusively aesthetic, or somewhere in between. Materials like wood and wrought iron are common in residential use, while wire, metal, glass, and acrylic are often found in commercial venues. Synthetics that mimic the look of natural materials can offer a desirable look at a lower price point.

The underlayment beneath floors, roofs, and exterior siding.Common in residential construction, wood sheathing like OSB or plywood provides structural strength and a nailing surface for siding and floors. Glass mat sheathing is common in commercial construction. Cement board features a glass fiber mesh for heat resistance, making it ideal for masonry or tile. Non-structural sheathing (foam, foil-faced boards, and plastic) is used primarily for insulation and weather-proofing.

Also known as SIPs. Most often made of a layer of foam sandwiched between sheets of OSB or plywood, Structural Insulated Panels are used for wall, floor, foundation, and roof systems. Compared to conventional framing, they provide enhanced insulation and decreased construction time. Alternative sheet materials include stainless steel, reinforced plastic, magnesium oxide, and fiber-cement. Some panels use a core of agricultural fiber such as wheat straw.

For preventing intrusion of moisture and air. Weather barriers form a continuous layer of protection to keep building components free of deterioration and mold. Proper sheathing with weatherproof-taped seams keeps out air, and house wrap repels moisture. Liquid and spray applied barriers provide monolithic protection across the entire exterior surface. Specialized wraps, foams, and flashing direct moisture away from the structure to protect vulnerable entry points like windows, doors, roofs, and foundations.

In addition to light, views, fresh air, and cross-ventilation, windows provide visual relief for a building’s or home’s facade. Units may be fixed, operable, or a hybrid between the two. Moisture protection and thermal performance are fundamental considerations, influencing the choice of materials for the frame, glazing, and perimeter details.