hardboard masonite panels

Hardboard Masonite Panels and their Industrial Uses

Hardboard Masonite panels are a specific and surprisingly versatile type of wood-based composite panel. It’s strength and durability make it an excellent product for a wide variety of applications.

Commonly known as “Masonite” (a brand name derived from the panel’s inventor and the company he started), hardboard is a thin, strong board made from wood fiber derivates like chips. It is often confused with MDF or cement fiberboard, but it is not the same thing. It can be unfinished – standard hardboard, or tempered hardboard, a process that adds a minuscule amount of oil as a finishing agent that makes it stronger and less prone to warping. Compared to other panels like plywood or OSB, it is only made as a thinner product but can be just as strong as a thicker panel.

Uses for Hardboard

Manufacturers use hardboard masonite panels in a huge range of ways. Pallets, crates, and other packaging companies use it as lightweight tops, slip sheets or dunnage. Furniture manufacturers use it for cabinets, drawers, shelves, and backing for mirrors and pictures, among other things. Beyond manufacturing, you will find hardboard in use by farmers for barn flooring and bedding and artists use hardboard as a painting substrate.  Hardboard’s ability to resist damage and withstand cutting, routing, shaping, and drilling allow for near 100% usage of the panel. And one fact that not many people know is that B Grade hardboard, while much less expensive, can feature only minor defects, making it nearly as usable as premium grades!

Hardboard’s unique qualities make it an ideal option as a panel substrate for hundreds of different products. Turns out that old coach’s clipboard (made from hardboard!) is more useful than you think.

Looking for a Panel Supplier for your small to midsized store? Contact us for further information.

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About Masonite on Wikipedia.

lumber sales how small stores compete

Lumber Sales: How Small Building Materials Stores Compete

If you drive across North America and start counting big-box building materials stores like Home Depot and Lowes, you might be amazed at just how many there are. That can be a daunting situation for smaller hardware stores from a competitive standpoint. But those smaller, local stores can often provide wood products the big guys can’t. Besides having the advantage of location, small to midsize building materials stores compete in lumber sales by building relationships, offering added value products, and in-house expertise. 

Knowing Your Customers

One of the greatest advantages of buying lumber at a smaller retailer is the capacity to build a relationship with the store employees. Knowing your customers and their needs is key. A local builder might come in wanting a large quantity of 2×4 lumber, and another industrial company might need low-grade lumber to use as pallet wood material. Stocking a wide range of products that some of the bigger stores don’t carry is essential to building customer loyalty.

Offering Discounted Off-Grade Lumber

Smaller stores have the flexibility to provide value-added services or products. One way to do this is by offering a discounted, off-grade lumber product that satisfies the needs of your DIY, industrial, shed/garage builders, and certain remodelers.  These wood supply products can offer much higher returns to the store, which reduces the need to operate solely based on gigantic volume and inventory levels. 

Adding Value

Finally, in-house expertise sets a store apart from its competition. Make the purchasing process as easy and seamless as possible, and help your customers understand the value of low-grade dimensional lumber or B Grade building materials. It will save them money and get you a customer for life. 

By focusing on what the big box stores cannot and giving the best customer service possible, small to midsized hardware stores can stand out above the big guys…even if they are just down the street. There is no shortage of opportunities to provide unique lumber and other materials to an appreciative customer base and increase your competitive edge. 

Looking for a Building Materials Supplier for your small to midsized store? Contact us for further information.

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Lumber on Wikipedia

plywood or osb structural panels

Plywood or OSB Structural Panels Pros and Cons

In today’s construction world, almost all structures are built with panels for at least part of the infrastructure. Builders have two widely available options in plywood or OSB structural panels, which both have advantages and disadvantages to their use. 

OSB:

OSB, or oriented strand board, is a rigid panel made by grinding logs into thin strands that look somewhat like wood chips. The strands are arranged in crosshatch orientation and mixed with materials to bind them together, then finished in a hot press. The finished OSB board has a consistent density throughout the panel and can be made into sheets as long as 16 feet or higher. Historically, OSB’s key advantage comes from its cheaper manufacturing cost. For most uses such as subfloor and wall sheathing, it is rated equivalent to plywood. However, it’s a performance in moist climates can be questionable, as it is prone to retaining moisture that can result in the swelling of the board’s edges.  

Plywood:

Plywood is a strong panel made by stripping thin veneers in layers from a log. The veneers are pressed together in perpendicular layers, creating a solid panel, typically manufactured at 8- or 10-foot lengths. Plywood’s primary advantage is in its moisture resistance. Many flooring contractors refuse to use anything else as subfloor as it is perceived as more consistent and reliable. Plywood is generally more expensive than OSB, which is a key disadvantage. 

Overall, the two types of structural panels are rated very similar by agencies that specialize in building codes and material quality. Plywood can be perceived to be of higher quality, but many believe that fact comes from its long history, more consistent appearance, and higher cost. OSB is very commonly used in wall sheathing as well as roofing and flooring.  

In closing, builders have a choice of materials they can safely and responsibly use in construction planning. Both plywood or osb structural panels are reliable, strong options for roofing, sheathing, flooring, as well as many other applications. The renewability of wood makes either product widely available, therefore a good option for almost all buildings. 

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Oriented Strand Board on Wikipedia

Pros and Cons of Laminate, Vinyl, and Hardwood Flooring

Pros and Cons of Laminate, Vinyl, and Hardwood Flooring

Builders and homeowners today have a seemingly endless number of choices when it comes to installing flooring. Styles, trends, and technology are always evolving, resulting in a dizzying array of options. Evaluating the pros and cons of laminate, vinyl, and hardwood flooring can help in choosing which flooring types to use, or stock, if you sell laminate, vinyl, or hardwood flooring.

Vinyl Flooring:

Vinyl is one form of what is known as “resilient flooring”, including such variations as luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and sheet vinyl flooring. 

Pros: 

  • Economical – well under $10/square foot including installation 
  • Easy to install – fits together cleanly, and some versions are self-adhesive 

Cons: 

  • Difficult to remove – adhesives used are extremely strong 
  • Can be of variable quality – thicker, layered construction types are more reliable

Laminate Flooring:

Laminate flooring is an extremely popular alternative to hardwood. It’s made using a process that overlays wood-look images on fiberboard backing and can be very realistic looking. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to install – comes in planks or tiles that are designed to easily snap together 
  • Tough surface – the wear layer is extremely durable and stands up to dents and scratches 

Cons: 

  • Susceptible to moisture – laminate flooring should not be installed in locations such as laundry rooms and rooms with drains 
  • Older laminate contains toxins – recent stricter EPA requirements has helped to reduce usage of harmful chemicals in manufacturing 

Hardwood Flooring:

Hardwood flooring, including engineered wood flooring, is commonly thought as the “higher end” of flooring choices.  

Pros: 

  • Durability – properly maintained, a hardwood floor can last more than 100 years 
  • Value – builders consider hardwoods such as oak flooring and hickory flooring to be an upgrade over other flooring types 

Cons: 

  • Cost hardwood flooring is the most expensive of the three types of flooring 
  • Maintenance – hardwood floors must be periodically maintained and refinished to retain their look and quality 

Builders and homeowners have more flooring options than ever before. Comparing the advantages of cost, durability, and overall value will help guide decisions on which type to use for a given application. 

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Laminate Flooring on Wikipedia
Vinyl Flooring on Wikipedia
Hardwood Flooring on Wikipedia

Affordable B-Grade Hardwood Flooring Options

Affordable B-Grade Hardwood Flooring Options

As small and mid-sized building materials stores are further pressured to compete with big-box stores and online sales, one option is to offer affordable b-grade hardwood flooring options to local customers.

Should I Stock Cheaper Grades of Hardwood Flooring on my Retail Shelves?

Flooring retailers all struggle with the balance of quality products vs. affordable prices. These days, customers want the best bang for their buck. Stocking B Grade hardwood flooring can be the answer for many of your customers.

What is B Grade flooring?  

There are a number of agencies that certify flooring grades, including the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association (NOFMA), the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), and the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). They each focus on certain characteristics of the flooring, including appearance, quality, stability, and hardness. B Grade flooring is a hardwood that exhibits various discrepancies over commonly accepted quality standards. 

Characteristics of #2 Common and Cabin Grade flooring 

The two most prevalent types of cheaper grade solid hardwood flooring are #2 Common and Cabin Grade. #2 Common is also known as Rustic Grade. Both types display more color variation and can include knots, burls, wormholes, and variable lengths.  

Why Buy Downgraded Hardwood Flooring? 

The primary reason your customers would be looking for one of these options is price. These grades can be significantly more affordable versions of prefinished or unfinished hardwood flooring. Depending on the intended use, they can be a great option for many of your buyers.  

But it’s not only price that attracts people to this type of discount wood flooring. The discrepancies shown in these grades are called “character marks”. More and more people are searching for unique looks and the variability in oak flooring becomes more attractive all the time.  

Looking for affordable B-Grade hardwood flooring options for your business? Contact us for further information.

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B Grade Commercial Roofing

B Grade Commercial Roofing Options for Retailers

Discount B Grade Commercial Roofing products show valuable returns.

Commercial roofs and residential roofs are quite different, but they have a number of similarities. One of the most significant things they share is that repairs can be very expensive. It is crucial that the company building or repairing a roof understands the products needed.

Commercial roofs are more difficult to design and install. Roofers need to consider things like industrial equipment, large smokestacks, HVAC system control units, and a much larger area to cover. B Grade commercial roofing products can be used for many commercial roofs, but are almost exclusively used on flat roofs where a warranty is not required.  

The key difference between A Grade and B Grade asphalt roofing (also known as bitumen rolls, or torch down roll roofing), is that B Grade products are sold without a warranty. The cost of B Grade roll roofing can be a major advantage to a roofing installer as long as they are able to work around the defects that resulted in downgrading the product. B Grade defects include rolls being made too long or too short, undersaturation, or the product being too thick or too thin.  

Retail roofing supply vendors are smart to carry some amount of B Grade commercial roofing products, as there are often surprise opportunities to capitalize on the cost savings. In addition to carrying asphalt rolled roofing, stores should stock commercial roofing adhesive, base and cap materials, roll on roof sealant, and other roofing accessory products that could be utilized by their customers.

Many people think the risk of buying products without a warranty is not worth it, but for the right application, B Grade roll roofing can be a great option. For a significantly reduced cost, it might worth checking it out! 

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More on Roll Roofing from Wikipedia