October 2006 Table of Contents

Building a Frame-and-Panel Fireplace Building a Frame-and-Panel Fireplace

Pocket-screw joinery and specialty moldings transform a site-built mantel into high-end millwork. Read more

Efficiency Dos and Don'ts From an Energy Nerd Efficiency Dos and Don'ts From an Energy Nerd

With high fuel prices here to stay, now is the time to get it right. Read more

Estimating With a Spreadsheet Estimating With a Spreadsheet

Learning some advanced functions will save loads of time. Read more

Fast-Tracking a Pop-Top Addition Fast-Tracking a Pop-Top Addition

Using wall panels and trusses, framing and roofing took only four days. Read more

Reroofing With Spray Foam Reroofing With Spray Foam

Spray polyurethane foam is durable, has excellent R-value, and can eliminate ponding. Read more


Unvented attics meet code; mystery setup; the joy of SIPs; safety-story feedback; more Read more

In the News In the News

Insurer wins Katrina case; Rhode Island toughens registration rules; Wisconsin limits impact fees; building costs rise; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A Paint Over Stain?

Q. Paint Over Stain? Is it okay to use an exterior latex house paint over stained wood siding? Read more

Q&A Insulating a Block Wall

Q. I'm renovating an uninsulated cape built with concrete-block walls. The plans call for gutting and reframing the interior and installing shingle siding on the exterior. Because the building needs to be insulated to comply with local (Long Island, N.Y.) code, I was considering adding a layer of foam insulation on the outside, then covering that with plywood as a nailing base for the shingles. Is there a better way? Read more

Do Fiber-Cement Butt Joints Have to Be Caulked? Q&A Do Fiber-Cement Butt Joints Have to Be Caulked?

Q: The clients on an upcoming project are interested in installing fiber-cement siding, but they're concerned about how the butt joints will look. While they don't expect the tight-fitting seams characteristic of wooden clapboards, they also don't like the look of wide caulked joints. Is there a better way to detail these joints? Read more

On the Job
Framing an Elliptical Staircase On the Job Framing an Elliptical Staircase

Recently, my friend Nick Ridge and I took on a job in Northern California that had an interesting challenge — an elliptical staircase with a self-supporting inside stringer. Read more

Pricing Handyman Work Business Pricing Handyman Work

It may surprise you to find out that you're not in business to exercise your skill as a craftsman, to get a sense of pride from a job well-done, or to enjoy a sense of freedom by being your own boss. As good as those benefits are, they're by-products, not the purpose itself. Read more

Protect Your Assets Legal Protect Your Assets

Whenever I speak somewhere, I preach about the importance of separating your personal assets from your company's assets. The best way to do this is by incorporating your business as a corporation or an LLC. Read more


Surface protection; mold fighters; accessibility; efficient lighting Read more

Toolbox Toolbox

Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver; Pipe Shredder; plumbing tools; job-site security Read more

Men of Oak Backfill Men of Oak

Most small businesses don't stick around for 50 years, so when Williams Hardwood Flooring made it to that important milestone, company president Jim Leslie decided to do something special: He commissioned chain-saw carver Michael Blaine of Winchester, N.H., to make a life-size sculpture of two installers hard at work. Read more

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