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  • Q&A: Health Effects of Foam

    Q: We typically build energy-efficient houses with 1-inch foil-faced polyisocyanurate foam on the interior of our walls. But more than one customer has questioned us about the potential health effects of the foam. Their concerns seem to stem from the outgasing of chemicals, more than the potential...

  • Laying Wide Pine Floors

    In many parts of the country, softwood is a traditional flooring material. A veteran finish carpenter explains his method for installing wide-board softwood floors.

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    Q&A: Cure for Wet Basement

    Q: We are working on a house with water in the basement. The homeowner got a bid from a specialty contractor for a comprehensive dewatering system that includes injecting a coating around the outside (without digging up the soil) and cutting the slab to install an interior perimeter drain connected...

  • A Contractor's Guide to Carpeting

    Laying carpet isn’t as easy as it looks. It requires preparation by the contractor and a knowledgeable installer. Also: Carpet and Air Quality

  • Q&A: Insulating Old Plaster Walls

    Q: What is the best way to insulate and vapor-proof an existing plaster wall without demolishing the surface?

  • Coping With Shrinking Wood Callbacks

    Whether it’s framing lumber or finish flooring, wood shrinks and swells, causing problems in your finish work. Here’s how to prevent callbacks.

  • The Practical Healthy House

    Demand is growing for homes with fewer harmful materials. An architect/builder gives his description.

  • Waterborne Finishes for Hardwood Floors

    Originally developed to comply with solvent regs, water-based finishes are now winning converts. A flooring contractor tells how to make them work.

  • Building With Style: Combining Paint and Natural-Finish Trim

  • Building Stairs with Stock Parts: Part I

    An experienced stair builder gives step-by-step instruction. In Part I, this month, we cover layout and installation of finish skirts, risers, and treads.