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More stories about Q&A

  • Which Window Area Ratio Is Better?

    Q: I've seen window glazing area recommendations for energy-efficient houses stated in two ways: as a percentage of conditioned square footage and as a percentage of exterior wall area. Which is most useful, and why?

  • How Far Can SIPs Be Cantilevered?

    Q: When building with structural insulated roof panels, how far is it safe to cantilever (or project) the ends of a panel past the top plates? I like the idea of creating a protective overhang for the siding and windows.

  • Roof Venting in a Wet Climate

    Q: I'm planning to reroof an expanded Cape Cod on a barrier island off the East Coast, where strong winds and moisture from the ocean are common.

  • How to Hide Rough Drywall Finish Showing Through Paint

    Q: A recent customer wanted to do his own painting and used an airless sprayer to apply primer to the bare drywall. He then rolled on the finish paint, but now he's complaining that the surface is rough wherever the drywall finisher sanded. He is blaming the drywall contractor, but I'm not sure...

  • Q&A: Closing a House for the Winter

    I have customers who wants me to build a log home that will be used seasonally, for about two months of the summer and another two months in the winter. During the rest of the year they want to leave the house closed up and unheated. We're at the edge of the Rocky Mountain Front Range in eastern...

  • Q&A: Effectiveness of Thermal Curtains

    Do so-called "double-cell" insulating window shades perform as advertised? One salesperson claims R-3 if they are installed with an airtight edge seal.

  • Q&A: Winder Layout to Code?

    Although code inspections are not routinely done in the rural area where I work, I want to make sure a winder stair I am building to access the upstairs of a storage building meets residential code.

  • Can You Swap Lithium Ion for Nicad Batteries?

    A reader recently purchased a DeWalt 18-volt cordless tool with lithium-ion batteries and noticed that the new batteries also fit their old DeWalt tools. Is it okay to use lithium-ion batteries in tools that came with nickel-cadmium (nicad) batteries?

  • Fixing a Botched Trim Job

    A homeowner asks how to repair what looks like a botched job, where new entry doors were installed in a brick home covered with stucco or some kind of cement parging.

  • Are Frost Stripes Cause for Concern?

    Last year we completed a SIP roof deck using two kinds of panels. Some were the standard OSB-foam sandwich panels, and some had prefinished T & G pine ceiling boards attached to the bottom. During installation, we noticed a small gap between the panels with the attached T & G ceiling, because the...