December 2006 Table of Contents

Buying a Skid Steer Buying a Skid Steer

If you can afford only one machine, make it one of these. Read more

Framing the First-Floor Deck Framing the First-Floor Deck

The work goes faster if you use a laser, install anchor straps instead of anchor bolts, and measure as little as possible. Read more

Making Curved Crown Making Curved Crown

Use this layout technique to make radiused crown on site. Read more

Supporting Brick Veneer On Wood Framing Supporting Brick Veneer On Wood Framing

When you can't support brick veneer on a masonry foundation, code allows you to use steel angles bolted to the framing - with strict limitations. Read more

Letters Letters

Attic temperatures and asphalt shingles; cynicism vs. basic economics; when employees compete Read more

In the News In the News

Small builders join forces; California bill slashes lead in plumbing; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A Is Veneer Plaster Compatible With Drywall?

Q: Can you skim-coat plaster over regular drywall? If not, is there a way to prep standard drywall so that a veneer plaster finish can be applied over it? Read more

Q&A Green Alternatives to Traditional Building Materials

Q: I live in northern coastal California, in the heart of the redwoods. We're currently remodeling a simple structure (in a highly visible town-square location) into an elaborately detailed storefront, in keeping with the surrounding 1880s architecture. While all the vintage storefronts (and their framing) are constructed of old-growth redwood, we would like to use modern alternatives — such as engineered products — that would be more environmentally responsible. Since the exterior will be painted, the panels, columns, and crown and detail moldings can be built with any product that will withstand our moist climate. Do you have any recommendations? Read more

Q&A Offsetting Bearing Walls

Q: There's a framing rule of thumb I've used for years that says it's okay to offset a second-story bearing wall from the first-story bearing wall below, as long as you don't offset it by more than the depth of the joist. We use this rule for standard dimensional lumber, but would it also apply to wood I-joists? Read more

On the Job
No More Bids: Switching to Negotiated Contracts Business No More Bids: Switching to Negotiated Contracts

I used to run my business the way most contractors do: I'd visit potential clients, review the plans their architects had drawn, agree to bid against a group of other contractors, and then spend 10 to 100 hours estimating the work. Read more

Managing Material Costs With an Escalation Clause Legal Managing Material Costs With an Escalation Clause

The other night, my husband and I watched a television show about contractors in California who are walking away from unfinished houses. But few contractors will walk away from an unfinished job voluntarily. That's definitely not part of their business plan. So why would it happen? Read more

Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath

Countertops; kitchen faucets Read more


Deck treatments; brick pavers & patio stones; storm doors & windows Read more

Toolbox Toolbox

Worx recip saw; Bosch PS10 I-Driver; vinyl siding; fiber cement Read more

Straw-Bale Vault Backfill Straw-Bale Vault

It's not every day that a world-famous artist asks you to design and build a retreat honoring the work of Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy — in highly seismic Joshua Tree, Calif., to boot. Read more

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