June 2002 Table of Contents

Installing Precast Garage Slabs Installing Precast Garage Slabs

Precast concrete slabs can add clear-span basement space for an unbeatable price, and are especially cost effective on steep slopes, as this case study shows. Read more

Making Curved Railings Making Curved Railings

A finish carpenter tells how he used composite and plastic materials to provide low-maintenance exterior details on a period house. Read more

15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailers 15-Gauge Angled Finish Nailers

A veteran finish carpenter reports on the performance of nine professional-duty pneumatic nailers. Read more

Problem-Solving Cabinets Problem-Solving Cabinets

Besides providing storage and organization, manufactured cabinets are enhancing the appearance of every room in the house. Read more

Secrets of a Floor Refinisher Secrets of a Floor Refinisher

A long-time owner of a floor refinishing business explains how a specialist assesses and executes a wood floor makeover. Read more

Tracking Your Time Tracking Your Time

A time card can improve the accuracy of your estimates, cut worker’s comp costs, and increase your profit. A custom builder shares his system. Read more


Airtight homes, cash accounting, woodshop noise, drilling holes in I-joists, more Read more

Notebook Notebook

Whirlpool bacteria controversy, critical habitat under review, European lumber imports, Business Tune-Up, more Read more

Q & A
Q&A: Plumbing Around Floor Trusses Q&A: Plumbing Around Floor Trusses

Q: We’re installing a fiberglass tub unit over a truss-framed floor. A small plan change moved the tub so that the overflow pipe lines up with a floor truss below. There’s just enough room to run the drain above the truss, but is it okay to run the drain horizontally for a foot or so beyond where the overflow standpipe connects before putting in the trap? The code we use says there can be no more than 24 inches between the drain and the trap weir, and to place the trap “as close as possible” to the drain, but what does this mean in terms of horizontal distance? Read more

Q&A: Insulating Above a Plank Cathedral Ceiling

Q: What’s the best way to insulate over an exposed 2x6 tongue-and-groove cathedral ceiling on a log house in Colorado? Some have suggested using SIPs, but others have advised that, because this particular roof is cut up with valleys and dormers, I would lose the labor savings associated with SIPs and end up with a very expensive roof. Another suggestion was to box out the roof with 2-bys, then spray foam insulation into the grid and cover it with plywood. A final suggestion was to put down foam panels right over the 2x6 plank ceiling, seal the joints, and lay plywood over that. Unfortunately, no one has given me details for these applications. Can you advise? Read more

Q&A: Mold Insurance

Q: Given the recent spate of moldrelated lawsuits covered in the news media, is there an affordable insurance coverage that can protect general contractors from liability on this issue? Read more

Q&A: Penetration of PT Chemicals

Q: Our local lumberyard carries .40 CCA-pressure-treated wood. The label says the wood may be used for ground contact. The wood has needle marks from the treating process. When I cut the lumber, the treatment appears to be only about 1/4 inch deep, which doesn’t seem adequate for sill plates in contact with concrete. I have also used .60 PT, and it shows green all the way through when cut. However, my supplier assures me that the .40 PT will not fail from either insects or moisture. Is he right? Read more

Q&A: Cracked Manufactured Stone Q&A: Cracked Manufactured Stone

Q: Last spring I completed a house with manufactured stone columns on the porches on both the north and south sides. The columns on the south porch have cracked at the corners (see photos below), while the columns on the north porch are fine. The cracks are only on the two outside corners of each column, not the house side. The cracking occurred right away and hasn’t gotten worse. The deck is supported on sonotubes below frost and is all pressure treated. The columns are built like the chimney surround (which is also covered with stone and has no problems), out of 2x4 studs and plates, covered with OSB. The bottom third of each 2x4 “box” is covered with eaves membrane, and the top is covered with felt. I used wire lath, though I didn’t wrap the lath around the corners. I have built many columns using the same methods, with no problem before. The columns support LVL beams across the top. Above the LVL are monotrusses whose bottom chords also support the porch ceilings. On the north side, the ceiling is 6 feet wide; the south ceiling is 10 feet wide. The porch ceilings are tongue-and-groove boards, with no venting. Any ideas about why I’m getting these cracks? Read more

By Design
Legal Adviser
Kitchen & Bath
Products Products

Super scooter, aluminum foothold, PVC trimboards, safer subfloor adhesive, prestained doors, replacement shower drain, cordless drills, lightweight backerboard, more Read more

Toolbox: Router Innovations Toolbox: Router Innovations

Three new router designs, a telescopic measuring stick Read more

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