March 1997 Table of Contents

Flattening Walls for Paneling

The quality of framing lumber being what it is, a perfectly flat, plumb wall is a rarity these days. An experienced finish carpenter describes the techniques he uses to create a flat surface before installing paneling and interior trim. Read more

On Site With Polymer Moldings

As an alternative to installing elaborate built-up wood profiles, one-piece foam moldings are lightweight, can be worked with ordinary woodworking tools, and produce a good-looking, durable finished product. Read more

Pinning to Ledge Pinning to Ledge

When it comes to footings, it’s hard to beat solid granite ledge. But when the rock is irregular or sloped, proper anchoring is crucial. A custom builder explains the tools, materials, and techniques he used to drill, pin, and brace a stem-wall foundation formed directly to a large stone outcropping. Read more

Plastic Plumbing Comes of Age Plastic Plumbing Comes of Age

Ten years of problems with polybutylene piping have made contractors wary of using plastic pipe for domestic water supply. That’s a mistake, according to this plumbing contractor, who has plumbed residential water systems successfully for 15 years using cross-linked polyethylene tubing. Read more

Reinventing the Ranch

Ranch houses from the 1950s are in many ways perfect candidates for ’90s’ remodels. Designed for relaxed living, they adapt well to informal contemporary lifestyles. An award-winning architect explains the guidelines he follows in remaking a ranch. Read more


Keeping termites out of foam-covered foundations, roof vent study attacked Read more


Coping with swings in lumber prices, back supports cut injuries, spray foam insulation outperforms fiberglass in extreme cold Read more

Q&A: Filling Nail Holes

Q: Is there an easy way to get a good color match when filling nail holes in natural or stained trim? The filler we use looks fine until the stain or clear finish is applied. Read more

Q&A: Plastic Pressure-Relief Piping

Q: Is it acceptable to use plastic piping for the pressure-relief discharge on a domestic water heater? The BOCA code in my area requires that the discharge piping be rated at or above the temperature of the system, but it’s not clear whether that refers to the temperature of the water in the tank or the temperature setting of the relief valve. Read more

Q&A: Attaching to Granite Countertop

Q: What’s the best way to attach a dishwasher to a granite countertop? Read more

Strictly Business: The School of Hard Knocks

Lessons learned on the job from hell Read more

Practical Engineering: Installing a Steel Moment Frame

Steel moment frame resists high wind loads Read more

Resources: Tax Planning

Income tax guides and Web sites Read more

Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath: Bathroom Fixture Clearances

Fixture clearances in tight bathrooms Read more


Prefab plumbing access panels, hand-crank fork lift, electric radiant heat panels, nonyellowing clear caulk Read more

Toolbox: New 15 Gauge Finish Nailers

New 15-gauge finish nailers Read more

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