Home Innovation Insights

Bob Hill, PE
September 20, 2012

Tried & True: Home Innovation Lab TESTED

As a building product manufacturer, you know there are things your product does (or doesn't do) that set it apart from the rest. But there may not be a recognized, institutional standard to certify that product or confirm a specific performance benefit. After all, what test can actually confirm your product is the greatest thing since sliced bread?

For as long as Home Innovation Research Labs has been testing building products, we have issued proprietary test reports to our manufacturer clients. While those companies could always choose to make reports public, there was no other outward indicator the company could use in their literature or packaging to highlight or promote our test results. As a result of client feedback, we recently introduced a Home Innovation Lab Tested™ mark to allow clients to "strut their stuff" related to our test results.

Different than our Home Innovation Lab Certified™ mark, which demonstrates compliance with specific national codes or standards, our new Tested mark indicates a product has been tested through the use of industry-accepted practices within Home Innovation Labs full-service product testing laboratory, to prove a manufacturer's performance claim for a product. A clarifying statement is paired with the mark to indicate the nature of the testing. Use of our new Tested mark on a product requires periodic testing by us following a Home Innovation-approved test protocol. The test reports of all products carrying the Tested mark are also posted for public access (and manufacturer links) in the Reports section of our website under the "Client Test Reports" topic.

The first client to receive our Tested mark was ITW Paslode® for its TetraGrip™ subfloor fastener. This unique fastener, which drives like a nail but holds like a screw, was developed to address the frequent callbacks and complaints many builders receive due to floor squeaks. However, prior to bestowing ITW Paslode authorization to use our mark, we had some significant work to do.

The first challenge was to develop and validate a test method that determined the propensity of a subfloor fastener to cause a squeak when there is relative movement between the subfloor and the fastener. Once we developed a test method concept, we tested a number of fasteners and subfloor materials of varying thicknesses to validate that the test protocol would consistently produce the typical squeaks created by many fasteners. We also established a method to quantify the audible volume created by a subfloor squeak. Once the test method and measurement technique were established, the TetraGrip fastener was tested in a variety of materials found in subfloor installations.

If you are a manufacturer with a better-than-sliced-bread building product, and are interested in learning how our testing protocols and Tested mark might work for you, let me know.

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