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Other stories by Henry Spies

  • Q&A: Sizing a Steam Boiler

    Q: I am remodeling a large, older home that is heated by a low-pressure steam system. Because of the size of the house, steam seems to be a good system to use, but the boiler is obsolete. We are adding insulation and sealed double glazing. How can I calculate the required size of the new boiler? Or...

  • Q&A: Painting Stucco

    Q: We are working on a cement-stuccoed house. The old paint is peeling in many places where water leaked from old gutters or was trapped by overgrown shrubbery. We have solved the moisture problems. What is the best way to prepare the stucco surface for new paint?

  • Q&A: Preventing Water Hammer

    Q: What causes hot water pipes to "bang" and how can this be prevented?

  • Q&A: Pressure-Treated Plates on Slabs

    Q: Do you need to use pressure-treated lumber for the bottom plates on interior partitions over a slab?

  • Q&A: Sealing Concrete Deck Over Garage

    Q: Water is leaking through the expansion joint in an above-garage concrete patio. What is the best way to seal this joint?

  • Q&A: Crawlspace Ventilation Alternatives

    Q: We are about to begin construction on an addition. Code requires venting the crawlspace under the wood floor. However, the foundation will be surrounded by concrete sidewalks on three sides, limiting the use of passive vents. Are there other alternatives for venting?

  • Q&A: Insulating Walk-Out Basements

    Q: What is the best way to insulate the footing, foundation, and slab on the walk-out side of a basement?

  • Q&A: Non-Asbestos Pipe Wrap

    Q: What material can be used to re-insulate steam pipes after the old asbestos insulation is removed?

  • Q&A: To Felt or Not Under Asphalt Shingles

    Q: Is roofing felt necessary under asphalt shingles?

  • Q&A: Floor Stiffness: I-Beams vs. Solid Lumber

    Q: Is a wood I-beam floor bouncier than one built with dimensional lumber?