Stephen Smulski

Stephen Smulski's Posts

Builder Blunders Builder Blunders

Nobody's perfect, but some builders are more imperfect than others. A veteran troubleshooter describes some memorable on-the-job mistakes. Read more

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Q&A: Assessing Old Structural Timbers

Q. I'm looking at a project to convert a 1920s-era three-story industrial building into residential lofts. Much of the heavy timber interior frame has been exposed to a lot of weather because of roof deterioration during years when the building was not ma Read more

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Q&A: Basement Vapor Barrier

Q: Where does the vapor barrier go when finishing a basement? Since we use a vapor barrier on the inside of exterior above-grade walls to keep moisture in, it’s my contention that a plastic vapor barrier should be used against the wall to keep out the moisture in the earth. Many disagree and say the basement is no different than the upstairs. My feeling is that the earth’s moisture will penetrate the concrete and will condense on, or at least be trapped by, the outside of the interior vapor barrier, thereby lowering the insulation’s R-value and possibly producing mildew in the wall cavity. Read more

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A Guide to Construction Adhesives

Does subfloor adhesive strengthen the floor system, or just prevent squeaks? Can you get a permanent bond between dissimilar materials? A wood products expert explains how elastomeric mastics work, and helps you choose the best one for the job. Read more

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Water in the Walls - Three Case Studies

Whether it comes from green framing lumber or household sources, moisture trapped in wall cavities can cause major headaches. These real-life cases illustrate the expensive consequences of failing to get water out of the walls. Read more

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JLC Field Guide
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