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Building Foundations

  • Foundation Returns to Green Basics

    AUSTIN, TEXAS—Contractors for Foundation Communities are getting out their caulking guns— the nonprofit plans to make 1,800 of the affordable apartments it owns and manages more energy efficient.

     
  • Installing an Egress Window in an Existing Foundation

    With the right equipment, you can cut the opening and install the well in a day.

     
  • Block Foundations for Small Additions

    If your crew has the skill and you own the right equipment, it may make sense to lay your own masonry foundations.

     
  • Are Windows Required in Basements?

    Q: We’d like to start building basements with precast concrete panels, but we’ve been running into resistance from local code officials. Are basement windows required when a house is built with a full foundation?

     
  • New Deck Footings Near an Old Foundation

    Q. Plans for a freestanding deck call for new piers about 2 feet from the house foundation. Is it necessary to dig down to the bottom of the house's footing to reach undisturbed soil, or would the dirt around the foundation of a 60-year-old house be compacted enough to be con sidered undisturbed -...

     
  • The Natural

    The defining moment of Jennifer Daughtrey Hicks' career in affordable housing happened one summer when she lived on the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Francisco.

     
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    Concrete Houses for the Coast

    Hurricane Katrina taught a valuable lesson: the only houses likely to survive the ravages of a major hurricane are made of concrete. Dave Pfanmiller, a custom-home builder in Gulfport, Miss., uses Wall Ties aluminum concrete forms to build these homes on the Gulf Coast. Pfanmiller and his friend...

     
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    A Pier-and-Beam Foundation For a Coastal Site

    Where unstable soil and periodic tidal flooding are a concern, helical piers topped with a concrete stem wall rise to the challenge.

     
  • Do Precast Foundation Walls Need Waterproofing?

    Q: Are precast concrete foundation walls subject to the same dampproofing or waterproofing requirements as cast-in-place and block foundations? I've heard that because these walls are made of a high-strength concrete that's virtually nonporous and impervious to water, they don't require extra...

     
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    Design: Fixing Wright's Wrongs

    Fixing Wright's Wrongs

     
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    High and Dry

    In the flood-prone Gulf region, an elevated home is a no-brainer. The classic poured-concrete slab-on-grade — a simple monolithic pour with nothing more than a thickened edge at the perimeter — is not enough where floodwaters from a storm surge or rising water levels pose a threat. Using a raised...

     
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    Hurricane-Resistant Concrete Homes

    Following the 2004 hurricane season, Florida-based Mercedes Homes paired up with researchers at the DOE's Building America program to design and build a truly hurricane-resistant home. But as researchers and builders have come to understand only too well, a home that provides complete protection...

     
  • Exposed I-Joists

    Q: A client has asked me to build a practical outbuilding with a wood floor system. For simplicity's sake, I'd like to place it on a Sonotube foundation and use continuous-span wood I-joists. The bottom of the I-joists will be about 16 to 24 inches off the ground, and the perimeter joists will be...

     
  • From Jailhouse to Supportive Housing

    John Fallon spent years trying to help a homeless man whom we’ll call patient R, a paranoid schizophrenic and alcoholic who spent 21 years on the streets, in emergency rooms, and in the jails in and around Chicago.

     
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    Driving Down Risk

    When a 1,500-pound drop hammer is falling from 10 to 15 feet, hitting the butt of a 25-foot timber pile a few hundred times, and you have 70 or 80 piles to do, the neighbors tend to get up in arms no matter how charmingly you may have introduced yourself, notes contractor Eric Borden. His company...

     
  • Lumber for Permanent Wood Foundations

    Q: Is ACQ-treated lumber and plywood suitable for building permanent wood foundations?

     
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    Wet-Set Mudsills

    With careful layout, placing sills directly into the wet concrete can save time.

     
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    Installing a ScapeWel

    This oversized window well adds emergency egress, light, and ventilation to basement living spaces.

     
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    Underpinning a Foundation

    Before adding new living space above an existing garage, make sure the footings can handle the load.

     
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    Framing the First-Floor Deck

    The work goes faster if you use a laser, install anchor straps instead of anchor bolts, and measure as little as possible.

     
 
 
 
JLC Field Guide to Decking