May, 2007
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



A new development in corrosion protection for structural connectors

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

USP Structural Connectors, a Gibraltar company, has developed a new double-barrier protection for its connection products that is engineered to resist the corrosive properties of the chemicals used in modern, pressure-treated wood. GOLD COAT is a new development as products such as anchors, hangers and framing angles, as well as their fasteners (nails, screws and bolts), are more quickly corroded by the chemical reaction with today’s pressure-treated wood products.

Since the banning of arsenic in pressure-treated wood products, manufacturers have turned to increased quantities of copper used to prevent decay in pressure-treated lumber commonly used in deck construction and other outdoor building applications.

While the use of copper is more environmentally friendly than arsenic, the end result is a product that more readily corrodes steel. The common solution used by connector manufacturers was to increase the quantity of galvanization on their products specified for use with pressure-treated lumber. While increased galvanization slows the rate of corrosion on steel — the chemical reaction with copper and zinc (the primary galvanizing product) is not prevented and deterioration of the zinc coating is imminent as the purpose of the galvanization is merely a sacrificial material that is not entirely resistant to corrosion. The end result of this corrosive environment is more quickly damaged connectors and fasteners that cause decreased load values and shorten a structure’s lifespan.

Looking for ways to improve its connectors, USP Structural Connectors added a barrier that prevents the highly corrosive interaction between copper, zinc and, ultimately, steel, providing contractors and homeowners with a connection product that surpasses current building code standards.

Testing conducted by USP has shown that over a 120-day exposure to copper, the GOLD COAT barrier had a rate of corrosion that was 65 percent less than steel coated at the G90 standard and as much as 60 percent less than steel coated at the G185 standard.

USP currently produces 25 GOLD COAT connection products – primarily connectors used in deck construction, but plans are to add more connection products as the need for greater corrosion protection includes anywhere a corrosive environment exists, such as in docks where saltwater is a concern, and where pressure-treated wood meets concrete in building construction.

To find out more about the product and testing, go to: www.uspconnectors.com and click on technical data and FAQ.

McGraw-Hill Construction releases first research of green homeowners

In March, McGraw-Hill Construction, with co-sponsor the National Association of Home Builders, reported that according to the latest market research  “green” homeowners are happier with their new green homes than with their previous homes, and that cost savings are the top motivating factor for buying green.

According to this new study, 0.3 percent of all homes in the U.S. are truly green (containing elements in three of five environmental building categories), a market sized at approximately $2 billion.

In 2006, McGraw-Hill Construction estimated that 2 percent of the residential construction market had at least one green building element, such as energy-efficient appliances. The new study suggests people are starting to commit to building truly green homes, moving away from just adding energy-efficient appliances or one aspect that’s green. 

Homeowners are extremely happy with their green homes, with 85 percent happier with their new green homes versus their previous non-green ones. And they’re not shy about sharing those feelings. This finding is powerful because 28 percent of the homeowners reported first hearing about green homes through word of mouth. 

The research also found that:

• The new green homeowner is affluent and well-educated, in his/her mid forties and married, and also more likely to be from the Southern or Western states. Women are also more likely to be green homeowners.

• Home operating costs matter. Sixty-three percent report lower operating and maintenance costs as the key motivation behind buying a green home. Additionally, nearly 50 percent report environmental concerns and family health as motivators. 

• Lack of awareness, higher costs and scarcity lead obstacles. The top three obstacles, all hovering over 60 percent of respondents, were oriented around education, additional costs involved in green homes and the availability of the homes.  However, when looking at the “biggest” obstacles, green homeowners view education as the biggest hurdle to overcome. 

Another interesting finding is the high prevalence of green products being implemented during home remodeling. Approximately half the overall U.S. homeowner population has recently done some renovation work on their home, and approximately 40 percent of that population is doing so with green products. 

About McGraw-Hill Construction: McGraw-Hill Construction is part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). For more information, visit www.construction.com.