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Remember the porch? The big, wraparound, space at the front of the house where rockers are placed and people greet their neighbors? It’s making a comeback.
And that is good news for HB&G Building Products, which is leading the market in architectural porch design, from columns to porch railings. Celebrating its 135th anniversary this year, the company that started making wood products such as wagon parts grew after the turn of the 19th into the 20th century to supply profiles and columns for the grand porches of the era. A change in residential building design toward mid-century into the beginning of the 21st century altered the importance of porches but, says Jeff Byers, vice president of sales and marketing, “The porch is coming back and it’s getting bigger.”
“Our company has always been innovative,” Byers said, both in responding to and creating industry trends. Today, with a growing shortage of construction workers, HB&G, which invented outdoor design, is developing products that make installation of columns and porch railings faster and easier. And these architectural appointments are getting a new look – or rather, an old look. Round columns are replaced with square, Craftsman-style versions, or are designed in a blend of architectural styles. So what is old is new again.
No matter what architectural style currently in demand, HB&G is there to manufacture and install these elements on commercial, residential and government buildings, churches, universities and banks. Touting styles that are architecturally correct, HB&G can also restore older wood columns, with the added advantage that its cast columns will endure into the next century.
In its lineup of products, HB&G, headquartered on more than 30 acres in Troy, Ala., offers exterior elements made of PVC as well as quality PermaCast™ products, comprised of composites that offer the advantage of being resistant to corrosion, rot- and termite-proof. The products look like wood but won’t deteriorate like wood and that means endurance and reliability as well as an aesthetically pleasing exterior for years.
Among these products are the PermaPost® posts for railings and outdoor lamps, made from a super low maintenance polyethylene shell that surrounds a galvanized steel pipe and polyurethane foam filler, tested to carry a load of up to 5,000 pounds.
In the area of rail systems, HB&G collaborated with builders and architects to develop the most versatile and natural-looking synthetic rail system on the market, resulting in the PermaPorch® railing system. The company’s low maintenance synthetic rail is made from cellular PVC with aluminum inserts for strength. PermaPorch® railing is in prefinished white, but can be easily painted, and is weatherproof, virtually maintenance free, and comes with a 25/10 year warranty.
In addition, HB&G offers PermaPorch® rail attachment brackets and aluminum inserts, specifically engineered to securely attach the PermaPorch railing to a newel, post, column or structure. The newel system is ideal for both residential and commercial applications, and it’s strong enough to meet all IBC and IRC codes.
Yet another product in HB&G’s PermaPorch line is the PermaPorch ceiling, another maintenance-free product. It can be used as a beaded ceiling, or as an accent to any room as a dramatic wainscoting. Pre-finished in white means it never needs to be painted.
New And Better
HB&G recently has added two products to its ever-expanding list of exterior architectural offerings, proving that the outside is as deserving of superior style as the building’s interior.
The first product, PLUMB-FIT™, is an all-in-one installation system for columns, getting the job done faster while ensuring, well, a plumb fit. The product simplifies the accurate placement of the column and is the first installation system built into the flashing cap.
The company has also introduced ColumnLoc™, an insulation system designed to provide wind uplift resistance to a porch roof overhang and tested to meet the rigid standards in coastal areas. ColumnLoc reduces column installation time and labor, compared to a split column around a load bearing post.
Rounding out the company’s product package is its new fiberglass pergola. HB&G manufactures structural fiberglass pergola kits using pultrusion technology to produce the strongest, lightest, structures available, with a limited lifetime warranty. The company’s structural fiberglass components also provide a higher level of aesthetic quality than vinyl or wood pergolas.
HB&G’s stock pergolas are wind-load rated and manufactured white with Spartan Tails and square or no-taper round PermaLite® pultruded fiberglass columns without neck molding.
HB&G also offers high quality, cellular PVC pergolas, arbors, and trellises. Custom pergolas, arbors, and trellises are also available.
Many Companies Under One Roof
Employing an in-house innovation team that constantly researches and invents newer and more efficient products, HB&G has also been proactive in adding companies to its roster whose core competencies have complemented HB&G’s own capabilities.
These companies include:
Arbors Direct: Manufacturer of custom-sized fiberglass arbor and pergola kits for residential and commercial applications.
Dixie Pacific: Manufacturing columns, railings, ceilings and pergola kits under the DuraCast and DuraLite brand names.
Hartmann Sanders: Manufacturer of authentic architectural columns and a full range of classically designed capitals.
Columns Inc.: Manufactures a full line of fluted round no-taper columns, fluted square no-taper columns, two styles of plain square no-taper columns and a recessed panel square no-taper column.
While these companies underscore HB&G’s solid business portfolio, the company, said Byers, is always looking to further its industry presence by partnering with companies that offer products and services to complement the HB&G line. “We’re always looking to expand our lines of outdoor products, railings and privacy screenings,” Byers said.
Its products sell at Home Depot but can usually be purchased through building material channels, Byers said. HB&G will ship anywhere in the world there is a demand for its products, through a line of reliable distributors in the United States.
“We are the largest manufacturer in the industry,” Byers said, noting the employee base of 400-500 people who make the HB&G product line strong. With a history extending back to 1880, HB&G has been able to adapt to the incredible changes over the last two centuries by being able to adapt. “I credit our longevity to the innovation we have had over all these years,” he said, as well as the ability to recognize that the world was changing, and that HB&G, the porch and outdoor products, had to change with it.
“We are the leader in porch products,” Byer said, adding, “We invented outdoor living products.”