WBS January 2017 Market Update

Jan 26, 2017


Lower-level Bar is Perfect for Wisconsin Entertaining

When you live in Wisconsin, a basement bar is almost essential and a key selling point in many homes. That’s why Midwest Homes of Madison had our Windsor location Elevations kitchen and bath design expert, Carrie Benton, create this fabulous space in its 2016 Parade Home located in Waunakee.

According to Carrie, this basement has a great exposure with a ton of natural light, so the darker pub-like feel of the bar area was a perfect fit. She used Northern Classic Cabinets in Lafollette Maple with a Driftwood stain to make up the cabinets behind the bar. It ties in nicely with the adjacent-state-of-the-art media area and its raised viewing bar, which is great for eating snacks while watching movies or the big game on the 160-inch screen.

Carrie says the bar includes everything a homeowner would want in a lower-level entertaining space: a sink, full-sized fridge, glass cabinets for display, and a lot of open shelving for storage.

It really offers a lot in a compact space,” she said.

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2016 Cost of Housing Trends


Using Fire-rated OSB Sheathing in Commercial Construction to Help Meet Fire Codes

Because most new construction in the U.S. has been sheathed with OSB for so many years, the idea of doing it differently might never have occurred to you. But what if you had the option of presenting your clients with a newer sheathing product that would significantly increase their building’s chances of withstanding a devastating fire? Now you do.

Fire-resistant construction is used to preserve the structural integrity of a building in the event of a fire and help prevent the collapse of key load-bearing elements. ICC-certified LP FlameBlock Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing, a product we’re proud to carry, is the latest way you can offer a cost-effective means of meeting fire-related structural code requirements.

At WBS, LP FlameBlock may be used in commercial applications as a component in our prefabricated wall panel systems. The LP FlameBlock panels consist of a non-combustible cementitious coating that is bonded to one or both sides of a sheet of OSB. The nonhazardous, fiberglass-reinforced Pyrotite coating increases the strength, bending stiffness, shear capacity, and impact resistance of each panel. This means a safer structure, whether you’re constructing a commercial building, multi-family unit, or single-family residential home.

Another benefit to using LP FlameBlock sheathing is that it is easy to use and can reduce the time and cost associated with installing a combination of gypsum and structural sheathing. It is installed exactly like standard OSB, only it is certified to meet fire code compliance, which hasn’t been readily available in a product of this type until now. It is also certified to withstand exposure to moisture during normal construction delays.

LP FlameBlock sheathing is most often used in Type III and V construction, particularly in roof decking adjacent to fire walls, and in load-bearing walls. It can also be installed in the roof decks of Type II structures and in non-bearing applications like curtain walls in Type I and II construction.

To see it in action, check out this video demonstration.


Get a Taste of the Flex Room of the Future

Everyone is used to the idea of new-construction homes offering a flex space. They offer the homeowner the ability to customize the look and feel of their home, even if they weren’t involved in its design process. But what if you had the ability to make spaces in a home truly flexible? As in, movable. The idea isn’t as farfetched as it may seem. Read on to experience it yourself.

Flex rooms can be important components to new-construction homes, especially if you’re building on spec. Giving homeowners an option for how to use a space is wise, and probably even preferable to putting a label – like dining room, office, or den – on a room that could have multiple uses.

But what if you could build a space that is truly flexible? That had walls that could be moved depending on how you need to use your space at any given time?

This isn’t just an idea, but it’s quite possibly the future of home building. As home buyers increase their awareness of green initiatives, and as they continue to demand high levels of customization, home builders will have to find ways to deliver.

A true flex space, compliments of a movable wall, was on display at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo last fall. It is a pre-manufactured wall that can be moved back and forth to expand and contract two rooms – an office and a living area. This wall housed a TV, speakers, and all the wiring necessary to serve as an entertainment center, and it could be rotated to function as a video conference screen.

While it will probably be some time until these kinds of features are standard in homes across the country, it just might be the future of sustainable homebuilding. WBS is committed to serving the needs of you, the professional contractor, and that means evolving in response to trends and demands. So stay tuned in coming years. This type of building could be our future!

To see this flex space in action yourself, watch this video from the Center for Design Research at Virginia Tech.