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Inspired Inventions
Inspired Inventions

Presenting the finest in new materials and mechanical systems for construction and remodeling projects

Thomas Baker



WHETHER YOU’RE building new or fixing old, you want the final results to look great, make your life more comfortable, and keep maintenance to a minimum. These are the criteria we applied when vetting the candidates in this category ; then we added an extra twist: Each of them also had to show that it’s truly innovative, either in its design, how it’s made, or the way it incorporates leadingedge technology. Here are the ingenious products that made it through our selection process.

1. PERENNIAL ROOF TILE Daltile

Porcelain, known for its great durability and resistance to fading and moisture, is now going on roofs. The 9mm- and 12mm-thick tiles, which resemble slate, clay, or wood shingle roofing, can be used anywhere in the country, have a lifetime warranty, and should last for at least 75 years. From $3 per square foot; daltile.com

2. PHYN PLUS SMART WATER ASSISTANT + SHUTOFF Phyn

Unlike less sophisticated whole-house shutoff valves, this one utilizes an ultrasonic sensor that detects and identifies leaks and freezing pipes, then notifies your smartphone where they’re occurring. The app also reports water pressure and usage, both current and historical. In the event of a catastrophic leak, Phyn stops the flow in just 60 seconds. $850; phyn.com

3. CORKOLEUM WE Cork

From the bark that plugs wine bottles comes this cushiony, waterproof flooring that’s only 1⁄8 inch thick. Glued down, then coated with wood-floor finish, it’s warranted to last 20 years, with proper care. From $6.50 per square foot; wecork.com

4. OPTIM-R VACUUM INSULATED PANEL Kingspan Insulation

This foil-wrapped insulation achieves an astounding R-32 per inch—about 10 times the R-value of fiberglass batts— because it encases a vacuum, just like a Thermos bottle. From $20 per square foot; kingspaninsulation.us

5. ELLUMI GERMKILLING RECESSED SHOWER LIGHT Evolution/Vital Vio

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July/August 2019