Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on IBS 2012 Round-Up

It seems as though every tradeshow we’ve attended for the past couple of years gets progressively more exciting, with a more optimistic vibe. Orlando’s 2012 International Builders’ Show was no exception amid a backdrop of increasingly positive economic news.

Spirits were high and business was rolling. In fact, I can’t recall one exhibitor who cited negative numbers. Last year at IBS, flat was the “new up.” But this year, “up” is exactly where it’s supposed to be… up!

January home creation increased beyond expectations and home builder sentiment is now near a five year high. The percentage of homeowners behind on their mortgages dropped to its lowest level in three years. And as if on cue to accommodate housing’s need for job creation to sustain its impressive trajectory, the number of unemployment filings dutifully fell to 2008 levels while employment marked its biggest gain in nine months.

Yes, IBS 2012 proved to be a great success for all involved. We saw a surge in unique design (aimed toward the “home for life” trend), as well as innovation in exhibit space (games, mobile display units and smart use of space). Of course, outdoor living and sustainability were hot topics with exhibitors and attendees alike. Most notably, these brands caught our eye:

Danver: Always a standout in the outdoor living category, Danver creates beautiful extensions to the home in the form of outdoor spaces. The brand is well-known for its outdoor kitchen cabinetry – which is available in painted powder coat or wood grain, in additional to classic stainless steel – but also provides a myriad of other products to complete an outdoor space, such as pergolas, fire pits and wood-burning pizza ovens.

Eagle Roofing: The new Artisan Series brought many visitors by Eagle Roofing’s booth. Inspired by Old World roofs, this collection is treated with a special process that brings unique streaks of color and accent to the tiles, ensuring no two tiles look exactly the same. When placed together on a roof, the tiles create a distinctive rustic look, sure to capture attention.

Ecolife: Probably one of the busiest booths at the show was the Ecolife booth. Completely decked out (no pun intended) with fishing gear and interactive boating games, the Ecolife team showed how great life can be when given the chance “fish more.” With the Ecolife wood stabilizer system, wood deck surfaces experience far less cracking, splitting and weathering. The treatment offers wood decks their natural beauty combined with environmental friendliness and strength.

EcoSmart Fire: With environmentally friendly options for both indoor and outdoor applications, EcoSmart Fire shows how easy it is to maintain a fireplace without the fuss of smoke or sparks… or even a vent! Its complete collection is chock full of sleek-looking products that use bioethanol – a renewable energy source – to create soothing and cozy flames.

Feeney: Cable rails provide great design in addition to structure for both indoor and outdoor applications, as Feeney proved at IBS 2012. Its collection of custom cables, rails and hardware works together to form endless design possibilities for stairways, gardens, awnings and decking.

Gerber: It was all about water savings and efficiency at Gerber’s IBS booth. The brand’s toilets, faucets and showerheads are made exclusively for the plumber, so you know you can count on them. Its new high efficiency showerheads save water without sacrificing performance, and by delivering 2.0 and 1.75 gallons per minute, they don’t hamper the showering experience either.

Kleer: On point with the very recent news of a great push for domestic manufacturing, Kleer Lumber produces its cellular PVC decking and trim in the U.S. Its products give the true look of real wood. At IBS, Kleer showed off its new hidden deck fasteners, ideal for working on any area of the deck.

Masonite: Launching several new collections, including the designer-inspired West End, Masonite proved doors are an important part of home design and décor. The West End collection features sharp horizontal embossed lines and bold graphic elements to evoke a chic and metropolitan feel. Other noteworthy products on hand were customizable router-carved medium-density fiberboard (MDF) doors as well as new decorative glass designs.

Walpole Woodworkers: From mailbox posts to fencing and full arbors, Walpole Woodworkers has a solution for all areas outside the home. A pergola formed Walpole’s booth at the show, with a remote-controlled ShadeFX canopy. The canopy extended to provide shade and just as easily could be brought back in to allow light to shine through the upper beams.