New Look, Same Book
What's going on, you're asking? Not much —
a nominal change, really. As in, we're giving the magazine the
nickname that most everyone already calls it (say Journal of
Light Construction three times fast and you'll know why).
We've been discussing this for years, but I decided the time
had come while manning the editors' booth at a recent JLC Live
show. An attendee walked up, talking about what a great show it
was, never been to anything like it, and so on; then he read
our banner and said, "Journal of Light Construction? Huh.
What's that?" Looking around at all the JLC Live signs
everywhere, I explained the magazine's connection to the show,
thinking it would be nice if it were a little more
We were also overdue for a redesign on the inside. The goal was
"clean and simple," and it has been masterfully executed by art
director Barb Nevins. Still, even though the presentation is
different, you'll find that most of the content is exactly the
We have introduced one new column. Called On the Job, it's a
place where we hope you'll share tricks and techniques that
make your work go better. The range of topics is wide open
— pretty much anything from excavation to punch list,
with a focus on time savers and solutions to common production
problems. The explosion in digital-camera technology has made
keeping a job-site record easier than ever, and if your camera
has a resolution of at least 3 megapixels, chances are good
your photographs will be publishable. You can submit by mail,
or e-mail me or any of the other editors on the masthead. We
will pay for items we publish.
Thanks for your continued support of JLC; as always, we look
forward to hearing from you.
Nice Ice Advice
Contrary to the advice in the story "Retreating Snows Leave
Legacy of Roof-Ice Repairs" (In the News, 4/05), you should
never put ice-melting chemicals on a roof with ice backup
problems. The reason the ice gets attention in the first place
is that water has intruded into the house. Adding salt will
exacerbate the problem, is difficult to remove, and can cause
permanent damage to interior surfaces. (Been there, done that,
a long time ago!)
A more practical approach is to wrap heat tape around
11/2-inch-diameter thin-walled pipes and lay them perpendicular
to the dam. In 24 hours, the heat will generate a channel 3 to
5 inches wide, letting the water run off the roof. We've been
using this method for a long time with positive results. If you
leave the pipe on the roof for the season, the internal
thermostat will regulate the heat and keep an open channel
until you can rip the shingles up and cover the sheathing with
ice and water shield.
Ted Newman Jr.
Lakes Region Remodeling Co.
Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
Hiding Vent Holes in Eaves
In the item on ventilation and eaves blocking in seismic
zones (Q&A, 3/05), the author discusses shear issues and
the relative lateral strengths of two different venting
details. I didn't run the numbers, but it seems that if someone
wanted the high shear value of the diaphragm nailing detail and
the look of the hidden vent-screen detail, they could just
combine the strengths of each. For venting, instead of cutting
the diaphragm short, why not continue the diaphragm blocking to
the roof sheathing but cut ventilation holes at intermittent
distances? Then attach the vertical spaces on the outside and
cover with a decorative fascia piece. This would accomplish a
high load, yet retain the look of the hidden vent.
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
NAHB Opposes ICC Energy Code
Your readers have good reason to be concerned about a
proposed change to the ICC energy code ("DOE Study Criticizes
Energy Code Amendments," In the News, 4/05), because the new
insulation requirement changes conventional construction
practices. Builders would have three options for complying with
the new code: moving from 2x4 to 2x6 construction; using a
costly, high-density fiberglass product; or attaching
additional insulation to the outside face of exterior
All three options have drawbacks and add between $600 and
$1,000 to the cost of an average new home. NAHB does not
believe that home builders or home buyers should bear the
burden of expensive new code requirements that provide
negligible energy savings.
David F. Wilson
Setting the Record Straight
Without knowing me or my business, Mr. Kenneth Benson
(Letters, 4/05) accuses me of locking out minorities. For the
record, two of my three primary subcontractors are black and my
best helper is a woman. I pay 30 percent more than the going
rate to keep them. My comments referred solely to a continuing
discussion of the Hispanic labor market.
Lonestar Home Improvement
Little River, S.C.
The Missing Page
I enjoyed Leland Stone's "A Handyman's Guide to
Self-Preservation" (Business, 3/05). I run a small contracting
business in the Seattle area and found his insights applicable
to my business. He has found answers to many of the
communication snags that come up with homeowners — an
area where contractors often run into problems. I was glad you
printed the contract form he uses, but would have liked to have
been able to read the back, which was partially obscured.
Straight-A Remodel & Repair