Best of the Best

Great products solve problems, and that's always interesting. 

August 10, 2016

In this month’s issue, one of our most popular of the year, the readers have spoken: Our Top 100 Products are chosen by you, based on your response and inquiry throughout the year. The rundown, vetted by this jury of your peers, starts here

When I began covering home building, I learned that projects and products are the two subjects of greatest interest to readers. The first one made immediate sense. Who among us doesn’t agree that looking at pictures of appealing homes and reading about how they got built is both informative for your business and a great way to pass the time? The draw of the products, however, wasn’t as immediately obvious. Sure, ceramic tile is eye candy, kitchen appliances have an automobile-like allure, and a well-designed showerhead is a thing of beauty, with its sculptural sleekness and promise of comfort and water savings. As for the lure of caulk, vents, housewrap, and siding, I was stumped. But only momentarily (Image: stevepb via Pixabay). 

The answer lay in my own kitchen drawer and in my past as a food editor. I recalled that the subjects on which readers had the most fervent opinions were the products and techniques that changed their cooking and made their food taste better. Remember when the Microplane grater came out in the mid-’90s? As many know, it was inspired by a woodworker’s rasp. The product’s genius was in breaking off from its dull ancestors, which grated knuckles, not food. The Microplane creates snowdrifts of Parmesan cheese. It has fine teeth sharp enough to catch a lemon’s zest yet leave the pith behind. It’s a product that solved a problem and made for a superior result. Once a user, you will never turn back. And so it is with great products in the high-stakes world of home building.

Water where it doesn’t belong, floors that squeak, windows that leak—great building products solve or help avoid a raft of problems, and that makes work easier. Good construction technique does, too. This month, we’re delighted to announce a new monthly column, “Quality Matters,” by Glenn Cottrell and his colleagues at IBACOS, a consultancy of building experts. Our debut column delivers a close-up look at the crucial details that help prevent leaky showers. “Quality Matters” will take a how-to approach, with clear illustrations of techniques that tackle all manner of common construction concerns, including stucco cracks, conditioned crawlspaces, and more. 

Is there a topic you’d like to see addressed that would make your home building better? Please let us know—and enjoy the August issue. 


Amy Albert is editor-in-chief of Professional Builder magazine. Previously, she worked as chief editor of Custom Home and design editor at Builder. Amy came to writing about building by way of food journalism, as kitchen design editor at Bon Appetit and before that, at Fine Cooking, where she shot, edited, and wrote stories on kitchen design. She studied art history with an emphasis on architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania, has served on several design juries, and is a recipient of the 2017 Jesse H. Neal Award for excellence in journalism. 


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