Building knowledge and connections

Continuing Education

Category: 06 00 00 - WOOD, PLASTICS, AND COMPOSITES

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  • Trim and molding occupy a small amount of space on a home’s exterior, however their aesthetic value outweighs their size. Properly designed exterior moldings and trim need a full understanding of the materials and the design rules and functions for each location. This course takes the reader through the design and installation of exterior moldings, in particular PVC molding, and looks at some common molding mistakes and solutions.


  • Light-manipulating materials use internal channels to capture, bend, scatter, and redirect light and create visually stunning spaces. Panels and slabs in resin, glass, and terrazzo create an experiential surface for privacy screens or signage, primary or accent lighting, countertops or flooring—anywhere the interplay of light and shadow is desired for beauty and inspiration. This course describes the different types of light-manipulating materials and substrates as well as the design and installation options for a wide range of dynamic, unique applications.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click here to view the details...


  • Vinyl plays a major role in the design and construction of modern buildings, and it contributes to sustainability, wellness and resilience of people and their communities. This course demonstrates the importance of achieving client performance goals using thoughtful, multi-attribute material selection criteria.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click here to view the details...


  • Commercial building interiors see all kinds of wear and tear on a daily basis. Various forms of wall protection can combat this wear and tear to help extend the longevity of a space, maintain a clean look, and cut down on maintenance costs. This course discusses the different wall protection products available, how to identify which wall protection products fit certain applications, and which building codes apply to these products.


  • Metal composite panels deliver a clean and elegant aesthetic while acting as a rainscreen or barrier wall. These panels can be produced in two different manners, each affecting performance and applicability. This course reviews metal composite panels, their methods of manufacture, performance capabilities, and methods of installation.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory


  • Specifying door products that are durable enough to withstand the rigorous demands of high-traffic applications in the healthcare and hospitality industries is crucial to the long-term success of each installation. This course reviews traditional doorway materials and doorway protection options, and provides design solutions that utilize engineered polyethylene terephthalate (PETG) components that extend the life of the door assembly and minimize health and safety issues for the building occupants.

    Prerequisites:No

    Course Level:Introductory


  • The popularity of bamboo products has soared due to their desirable aesthetic and unique, eco–friendly attributes. This course covers the history, uses, characteristics, and specification considerations of bamboo, including a discussion of the health advantages and green benefits of designing with bamboo products.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click here to view the details...


  • Timber curtain wall systems in commercial applications are a beautiful alternative to standard aluminum storefront systems, offering durable, low-maintenance, aluminum or wood-capped exteriors with the warmth and richness of wood interiors. This course describes the design benefits, components, options, and installation of timber curtain walls. Also discussed is how this resource-responsible system can help satisfy LEED® credit requirements, meet energy-efficiency expectations, and maximize outdoor views while creating indoor spaces that are uniquely modern and comfortable.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click here to view the details...


  • Stairs are a primary means of egress, exit, and floor-to-floor access for buildings with multiple floors or a change in rise. Metal stair systems designed for commercial and industrial applications can be fabricated out of steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum. This course evaluates types of pre-engineered steel stair systems and includes discussions on advantages, class, fabricator vs. manufacturer, railings, stair flight and landing construction, connections, and building code requirements.


  • Traditionally used for high-performance architectural applications, water-based PVDF coatings can now be applied to cellular PVC cladding materials, delivering high performance in a new application. This course presents the benefits of cellular PVC as a cladding material and focuses on water-based PVDF coatings, how they work, and how their performance characteristics contribute to their durability.


  • Bamboo, with its superior strength, light weight, ease of use, and ability to be regrown quickly, has been utilized as a construction material in its natural state for many centuries. More recently, it has been combined with other elements to create improved materials such as bamboo fiber composite decking and fencing. This course, illustrated with harsh climate installations from around the world, explains this advancement, the products now available, and how to certify, specify, install, and maintain them.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory


  • Sinterization is a specialized manufacturing process that uses extreme heat and pressure to create a unique product called ultracompact surfacing material. This cutting-edge material can be used in ways that natural stone, solid surface, or quartz material cannot. This course examines the advantages of ultracompact surfaces in terms of strength, durability, chemical resistance, absorption, abrasion resistance, and ASTM testing. Design flexibility with ultracompact surfaces in terms of color, texture, and format is also discussed and possible interior/exterior application options are considered.


  • When selecting an underlayment, considerations should include not only durability, sustainability, and comfort underfoot but also any potential subfloor moisture issues. In this course, we review selection criteria for a project-specific underlayment and take a deeper look at subfloor moisture assessment, testing, and solutions.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory


  • Rain has been cited as the most important thing to control in wall construction. Rainscreen systems have, for over five decades, proven to be highly effective in this regard. Following an analysis of moisture management issues and rainscreen systems, this course then identifies the unique attributes of wood-plastic composites (WPC) for use in rainscreen applications. It concludes with a detailed description of how WPC cladding should be applied and fastened in rainscreen systems.


  • This course explains and illustrates how high-performance, fully composite insulated sandwich wall panels can be detailed to achieve continuous insulation. It explores the pros, cons, and attributes of wythe connectors such as carbon fiber trusses as well as panel insulation options, manufacturing and testing procedures, and installation methods. It concludes by providing a comprehensive set of sample installations to illustrate the broad range of building types and appearances that can be created with insulated sandwich wall systems.


  • Redwood Timbers are a safe, strong, and sustainable option for exterior and interior building projects where natural wood is desired. This course provides an overview of the properties of Redwood Timbers including insulation properties, grades, dimensions, fasteners, finishing options, and strength. It concludes with numerous case studies exploring the use of Redwood Timbers for post and beam construction, decorative elements, deck posts, and outdoor living structures.


  • There are many important considerations and issues related to outdoor tile and stone surfacing installations. This course provides an overview of the causes of their frequent failures, a detailed description of a system which addresses those issues and avoids the failures, and case studies of successful system installations in various contexts.


  • Rain has been cited as the most important thing to control in wall construction. Rainscreen systems have, for over five decades, proven to be highly effective in this regard. Following an analysis of moisture management issues and rainscreen systems, this course then identifies the unique attributes of wood-plastic composites (WPC) for use in rainscreen applications. It concludes with a detailed description of how WPC cladding should be applied and fastened in rainscreen systems.


  • Cladding can have a significant effect on the environmental performance and aesthetic appeal of a residential or mixed-use building. When designing a building exterior, in new construction or for a makeover, there are many variables to consider and numerous cladding options to choose from. This course discusses the performance of vinyl siding products, including their design, color retention, ease of installation, and durability, and illustrates how vinyl siding can achieve almost any architectural style, to suit any neighborhood.


  • Redwood offers warmth, character, durability, and strength in products from sustainably managed and harvested forests. This course provides insights into forestry practices and the environmental benefits of Redwood lumber, and compares Redwood with other common decking materials. Details are presented on how to differentiate and specify grades of Redwood; finishing options and methods are also discussed. The course concludes with examples of applications that showcase the unique beauty and attributes of Redwood.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory


  • Some of the design goals for healthcare buildings are efficiency and cost-effectiveness, cleanliness and sanitation, security and safety, and sustainability. Vinyl’s unique attributes mean that it can address these needs in a number of locations in the building. This course reviews those attributes through a look at the chemistry and performance characteristics of vinyl and its innovative uses for healthcare design challenges.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click here to view the details...


  • Surface design and color impact people in one way or another. Why do some surroundings induce a sense of calm, happiness, or inspiration while others offer nothing but distraction, discomfort, chaos, doom, and gloom? Interior surfaces are the point of contact between users and their environment, as well as an important connection between the visual and physical worlds. This course examines the integral role that surface color and design play in interior spaces and how color and design can improve health, reduce stress, enhance safety, and promote well-being in building occupants. Key requirements in the selection and specification process are also discussed.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory


  • Window frames offer many important benefits for buildings, especially when it comes to energy and environmental performance, and frame material selection is a critical aspect of the design process. This course discusses pultruded fiberglass window systems and compares them with traditional wood, aluminum, and PVC window systems across a wide variety of performance attributes.


  • There are some complex issues involved in achieving ADA-compliant designs in all types of building construction. In terms of bathroom design, it is important to comprehend the ADA standards in order to minimize the risk of injury and to ensure end user comfort and ease of use. This course covers ADA-compliant design requirements for shower compartments and lavatory tops using solid surface materials─from planning and design to installation.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory


  • Deck structures provide neat and sturdy living spaces that mirror interior conveniences while set in the ultimate, great outdoors. Choosing the right deck board for a specific project requires considering the size of the project, its location, and local climate conditions. This course discusses the performance characteristics and benefits of using multi-layer, cellular PVC decking—a durable decking material that replicates the unique beauty of exotic hardwood.

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