New From TRUFIG: World’s Most Beautiful (and Expensive) Outlets?
TRUFIG already has made everyday electrical outlets, dimmers and keypads fade into the drywall; now it's bringing the same sleek solution to granite, wood and other solid surfaces.
We already know that TRUFIG mounting solutions look awesome when used on Sheetrock. They make electrical outlets, dimmers, touchscreens and other electronic gear practically disappear into the wall.
But what if the wall is wood or granite or some other hard surface? Now there’s a TRUFIG for that.
Like the original product, the new TRUFIG Solid Surface Solutions do a great job of hiding in-wall electronics on unconventional surfaces. Installation, however, is more challenging than a straightforward Sheetrock job – not least because a depth-adjustment tool must be brought into the process.
The trickiest part is that the finishing trades must cut your receptacle holes perfectly. There are no bezels to hide imperfections, and no do-overs on imprecise cuts.
“The solid surface solution involves more work for us to coordinate with skilled trade labor as there are a few more steps for us and either a millworker or countertop manufacturer,” says Jonathan Stovall, an integrator with Bethesda Systems, Md., who attended TRUFIG Solid Surface training. “There is more prep relative to solely educating and quality-controlling a Sheetrock finisher.”
And if you really want the trim to disappear, prepare to pay for a skilled faux painter. Currently, you must use the TRUFIG magnetic fascias (white, almond and brown, all paintable) to finish the job. No, you can’t just slap some magnets onto a right-sized piece of granite, or whatever the surface may be.
“The fascias are thin and precisely machined to fit within the TRUFIG openings—most likely way too much work for a local craftsman, especially within marble and granite.” says Stovall. “But I imagine someone will eventually try it with wood. It’s just not a sanctioned method yet. I’ve seen some amazing faux painters in my time. I believe it’s much easier to let them do their thing.”
The additional work of painters and wall finishers adds to the already-high price of the original TRUFIG, which starts at about $300 for a single-gang electrical outlet. The Solid Surface versions cost about 20- to 25-percent more than the basic Sheetrock line, according to Stovall. And that’s before the extra labor.
It’s all good for Bethesda Systems, though.
Not only can the company make good margins on otherwise mundane accessories, the TRUFIG Solid Surface line forces strong relationships with other trades.
“TRUFIG allows us to increase the level of communication and coordination between multiple subcontractors, and that does nothing but raise the quality of any construction project we touch,” Stovall says, “This ‘coordination platform’ allows us to be accountable directly to the general contractor—a service unlike any other our industry has ever seen before.”
While growing its TRUFIG business, Bethesda is building relationships with the best of the related trades so the company doesn’t have to re-teach every new contractor.
Stovall explains, “We see TRUFIG as an integral part to growing our business because it will get us to the table earlier on in the project, allowing us more face time with the decision makers, and ultimately allowing us to sell more of our products and services.”
TRUFIG Solid Surface recently was named a 2010 CEDIA Manufacturer’s Excellence Awards finalist.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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