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Other stories by Henry Spies

  • Q&A: Vapor-Retarding Paint

    Q: I am residing an old house that is uninsulated. I plan to add foam exterior sheathing and blown-in cellulose in the walls. Is a vapor-retarding paint adequate to prevent moisture problems in the wall?

  • Q&A: Roofing and Insulation for an Exposed Rafter Ceiling

    Q: What is the best roofing and insulation to use on a 20-year-old house with exposed rafter cathedral ceilings? The framing doesn’t seem strong enough for tile, which is common here in the Southwest, and the roof needs substantial insulation to shield against an extremely hot summer climate.

  • Q&A: Finish For Weathered Siding

    Q: I have been told that the oils in a penetrating oil-base stain will improve old, dry clapboards. Is this true, or would it be better to seal the weather checks with a high-quality oil-based or latex paint?

  • Q&A: Sealing Exterior Chimney to Framing

    Q: For a brick fireplace and chimney on a gable end wall, how should the joint between the framing and the brick be sealed? Can a thermal break be included in the masonry to stop heat loss?

  • Q&A: Lifetime of Hot-Mopped Roof

    Q: What is the life expectancy of hot-mopped asphalt on a flat roof? Will aluminum paint extend the life of the roof? If so, how often should the roof be recoated with the paint?

  • Q&A: Truss Uplift Causes & Cures

    Q: The Journal’s panel of experts answers the most commonly asked questions from the job site.

  • Q&A: Venting A Sloped Crawlspace

    Q: How do you vent a crawlspace under a house on a sloping site? On a recent job, the uphill side was covered with a patio and the customer wouldn’t accept window wells in the patio. Will this side get enough ventilation with conventional vents along the pony walls on the downhill side?

  • Q&A: Hemlock Board-and-Batten Siding

    Q: I am working on a project where native (New York) hemlock boardand-batten siding has been specified. I am not familiar with this material. How should I prep and install it?

  • Q&A: Underlayment for Tile

    Q: Should an underlayment be used with ceramic tile over a plywood subfloor? If so, what material would you recommend?

  • Q&A: Installing Shingles in Cold Weather

    Q: We have a lot of trouble installing fiberglass shingles in cold weather. The shingles tend to split and the tabs won’t seal. The old organic asphalt shingles seem to be unavailable. Any suggestions?