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Other stories by Paul Fisette

  • Housewrap vs. Felt

    We’ve fielded a lot of questions from builders who use housewrap air barriers, but wonder how these new mate-ials compare with felt paper when it comes to keeping water out of the walls. An expert in wood technology draws on his own research to explain how the properties of housewraps and felt...

  • Q&A: Insulating a Flat Roof in a Hot Climate

    Q: I am reroofing a flat roof framed with 2x10s on a house in Tucson. The foil-faced batt insulation was installed more than 25 years ago and seems very spotty, so I’d like to replace it while the roof is stripped. Winters are mild here, but the summer heat is brutal. I use both a/c and evaporative...

  • Q&A: Housewrap Behind Vinyl Siding

    Q: Is it necessary to put housewrap behind vinyl siding on new construction?

  • Q&A: Squash Blocks & Web Stiffeners

    Q: I’ve been using wood I-joists for my floor framing. The designs have called for 1x4 crush blocking inserted between the top and the bottom 2x2 flanges and nailed directly to the OSB web. I’ve also heard of using 2x4s nailed to the face of the 2x2s, instead of being inserted between them. Which...

  • Q&A: Unventilated Crawlspaces

    Q: Since 1983, we have been using unvented crawlspaces under many of our energy-efficient housing projects. Our county has recently hired a new building inspector who is unfamiliar with this building practice and can find no provisions for it in the BOCA code. He would like us to provide evidence...

  • Practical Engineering: Sizing Engineered Beams

    Selecting and sizing engineered-lumber beams

  • Practical Engineering: Calculating Loads on Beams and Headers

    Calculating uniform loads on beams and headers

  • Plywood vs. OSB

    Are these two products really equivalent, as manufacturers and grading agencies claim? A wood technologist puts to rest questions about OSB’s suitability as an economical substitute for plywood.

  • Exterior Trim: Alternatives to Solid Wood

    While good-quality finish lumber has grown more scarce and expensive, the lumber industry has been developing wood-based engineered alternatives. Here’s an overview of the best options on the market today.

  • Q&A: Splashback Causes Deck Decay

    Q: I am having a problem that’s not uncommon in my area (north-central Florida). I recently built a nice custom deck for a customer who wouldn’t accept pressure-treated wood because of its appearance. I used kiln-dried southern pine 5/4x6. We primed all sides of the boards with oil-based primer...