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Other stories by Bruce Harley

  • Sealing Around a Chimney

    Q: Code requires that there be a 2-inch-minimum clearance between a chimney and any combustible building materials. In the past, I've tightened attic penetrations around masonry chimneys with metal flashing and used a fireproof caulk to seal the joints. B

  • Double Vapor Barriers

    Q: While building a new home in upstate New York, we installed R-15 kraft-faced insulation in the walls, but the local building inspector then made us install 4-mil poly over the kraft paper facing. We've been told by other builders and inspectors that this is not a good practice. Is this double...

  • Keeping Garage Fumes at Bay

    Q. I'm building a house that has an attached 24-by-24-foot garage with a master suite above. The owner is concerned about fumes getting into the living spaces next to and above the garage. What's the best way to seal out the fumes?

  • Insulating a Knee Wall

    Q. Insulating a Knee Wall What's the best way to insulate a knee wall?

  • Q&A: Compressing Fiberglass Batts

    Q. I’ve heard that if you use 5 1/2-inch-thick fiberglass batts in a 2x4 wall, the insulation will have a higher R-value than standard 3 1/2-inch batts provide. But some people say that compressing fiberglass batts lowers the R-value. What’s the story?

  • A Builder's Guide to Geothermal Heat Pumps

    Installed correctly, ground-source heat pumps can provide comfortable, efficient heating in many climates. Here’s an overview of the available options.