Monday, May 30, 2005

"Blue" Wood Stops Mold

Mold vs. Blu: Blu wins
Builders first here to use new moisture-resistant wood
MELISSA FOLLOWELL
Herald Staff Writer

EAST MANATEE - Pulling up to La Maison's new home site in Greenfield Plantation, one might think the Smurfs were moving in.

Parrish-based La Maison has become the first builder in Florida to build a home using a new product that aims to keep wood and other building materials free of moisture.

The Perfect Barrier system, also known as Blu Wood, is the latest way new home buyers can safeguard their homes.

La Maison President John Dukovac was intrigued when he first heard of a product that reportedly could eliminate some of Florida's biggest construction issues - mold and wood-eating insects.

"It's going to be one of the biggest things in the building industry," Dukovac said.

The product, which can be applied to all building surfaces, was created by Boca Raton's Charles Morando.

"Lumber is the most vulnerable between the time it's cut and delivered to the site," Morando said.

Tests show the treated blu wood can be exposed to the elements for a maximum of six months without further treatment.

Mike Reed of Lakeland's Mid-State Truss Company had been looking for a product to market after hearing stories of people being forced out of their homes by mold.

The first product treatment center opened in Myrtle Beach, S.C., two years ago and a second was added in Dallas. A third center is coming soon to Winter Haven, Reed said.

"The demand snowballs once we are in an area," Reed said.

The vapor-permeable coating allows moisture to escape from the wood, but prevents outside moisture from seeping in. Applying Perfect Barrier at the factory ensures quality control and with that comes a lifetime warranty that transfers from owner to owner.

Using Blu Wood as the framework for a house costs more than using untreated wood. Reed estimates it may cost as much as $2 to $3 more a square foot on a wood-framed home, but may run substantially less in the more common concrete block home.

Tom Sprinkle, director of sales and marketing for La Maison, sees the technique as a wave of the future. He believes about 25 percent of the homes the company builds during the next year will incorporate the Perfect Barrier system.

"People are going to start seeing the benefits far outweigh the cost," Sprinkle said.

Melissa Followell, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7920 or mfollowell@HeraldToday.com.



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