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More stories about Q&A

  • Adding a Point Load to a Post-Tensioned Foundation

    Q: When making structural changes that involve adding a point load to a house built on a post-tensioned concrete slab, is it necessary to add a footing for a structural post? I'm concerned that cutting through the slab to pour a pad footing could sever on

  • Are Mountain-Climbing Harnesses Okay On Site?

    Q: I'm a long-time rock climber and carpenter, and I've been using climbing harnesses for job-site fall protection for many years. These kinds of harnesses are designed to protect the wearer in the event of a severe fall, and I've had a lot of practice us

  • When to Use a Heat-Pump Water Heater

    Q: A customer wants me to install one of the new heat-pump water heaters in the ground-floor utility room of a house built on a slab. I don't have any direct experience with them, but since they work by drawing heat from the surrounding air, won't any energy savings in the winter be at least partly...

  • Sidewall Shingles Over Foam Sheathing

    Q: How do I fasten cedar shingles to sidewalls covered with rigid foam?

  • Micronized-Copper Treated Lumber

    Q: I'm building an outdoor deck for a client who wants me to use lumber treated with micronized copper, in the belief that it's less harmful to the environment than wood treated with other chemicals. I'm not very familiar with the material. Can it be used in ground-contact applications, including...

  • When the Homeowner Does the Demo

    Q: I'm considering a job remodeling a kitchen on a pre-1978 house. The budget-conscious client wants to save money by doing the demo work himself, which I understand he can legally do in his own home. Can I come onto the job afterward and work without following lead-safe work practices, since I...

  • Soundproofing an Apartment Ceiling

    How do you make a downstairs apartment quieter when the apartment upstairs is inaccessible?

  • Attaching Wood to Concrete

    Q: Do I have to use pressure-treated lumber when I'm attaching wood to concrete or masonry in "dry" situations - such as inside a basement or under the protection of a covered porch? I seem to remember from reading the code that treated wood is only required within a certain distance from grade.

  • Beefing Up Attic Joists for Living Space

    I need to convert an attic to livable space with minimal disruption to first-floor habitation.

  • Attic Insulation for Hot Climates?

    Q: Builders in cold climates often go beyond code-required attic insulation levels, especially when using a relatively inexpensive material like blown-in cellulose. Is the same approach helpful in cooling climates?