June 2008 Table of Contents

A Close Look at Common Energy Claims A Close Look at Common Energy Claims

Understanding energy consumption and moisture movement in the homes we build is hard enough; rampant half-truths and misconceptions only make it harder. Read more

A Roof Full of Windows A Roof Full of Windows

Precise framing, peel-and-stick membrane, and metal flashings ensure a leakproof job. Read more

Selling the "Design" in Design-Build Selling the "Design" in Design-Build

A small initial design contract can lead to a big job. Read more


Drywall back-blocking in action; A-frame appreciation; hard workers in California; more Read more

In the News

A proposed interior-design law stirs controversy in California; a fatal fall leads to criminal obstruction charge in Illinois; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A Do Precast Foundation Walls Need Waterproofing?

Q: Are precast concrete foundation walls subject to the same dampproofing or waterproofing requirements as cast-in-place and block foundations? I've heard that because these walls are made of a high-strength concrete that's virtually nonporous and impervious to water, they don't require extra dampproofing or waterproofing. My building inspector disagrees. Read more

Q&A Removing Rocks Without Blasting

Q: We're building a home on a site with difficult access, and we need to remove a lot of boulders without using heavy equipment. Is there a way to break the boulders into smaller chunks without having to deal with dynamite and the associated permitting? Read more

Q&A Does the Size of a Rain-Screen Gap Matter?

Q: Rain-screen wall assemblies seem like a good idea for protecting wood siding and paint, but they can create headaches when it comes to resolving door, window, and other trim details. Wider gaps mean that doors and windows would need jamb extensions, as well as screening to keep bugs out. But would a 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch gap - which might not require any additional detailing, or even screening - be equally effective? Read more

On the Job
On the Job: Avoiding Plaster Disaster On the Job: Avoiding Plaster Disaster

Avoiding plaster disaster; a floating sink Read more

Getting Paid for Your Time Business Getting Paid for Your Time

If you and your project manager spend 13 hours preparing an estimate for a remodeling job, how much money have you invested in the project? Would you have been better off spending those 13 hours getting things done on one of your current projects? Read more

Legal When to Call a Lawyer

Contractors tend to avoid calling for legal help. Partly this is because they're used to solving their own problems, and partly it's because they don't want to rack up attorney's fees. But certain circumstances — let's call them legal emergencies — absolutely require immediate legal counsel. Read more

Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath

Appliances, fixtures, and finishes Read more


Windows; energy conservation Read more

Niche Product Sales Muck-Truck Toolbox Niche Product Sales Muck-Truck

Imagine a self-propelled wheelbarrow with four-wheel stability that's fun to operate. Read more

Bobcat Landscape Rake Toolbox Bobcat Landscape Rake

You could spend hours and hours with an iron rake and a wheelbarrow prepping the soil around your new spec house — or you could jump into a compact loader equipped with a Landscape Rake and do the job in a fraction of the time. Read more

Sawstop Blade-Stopping Cabinet Saw Toolbox Sawstop Blade-Stopping Cabinet Saw

SawStop's innovative blade-stopping cabinet saw is popular with furniture makers and cabinetmakers for good reason: Read more

L.S. Starrett ProSite Protractor Toolbox L.S. Starrett ProSite Protractor

When the original ProSite protractor was introduced several years ago, finish carpenters were delighted to discover a simple-to-use tool for measuring angles and determining miter-saw settings. Read more

Bosch Tools ROS20VS Random-Orbit Sander Toolbox Bosch Tools ROS20VS Random-Orbit Sander

I had a chance to check out Bosch's new ROS20VS random-orbit sander at the Builders' Show. Read more

Toolbox Bosch Worksite Table Saw

Late last year Bosch introduced the Worksite Table Saw (model 4100), an improved version of its Benchtop Table Saw (model 4000). Read more

Haven for Homeless Homes Backfill Haven for Homeless Homes

When a northeast storm cut a new opening through a barrier beach in the Cape Cod community of Chatham, Mass., in April 2007, owners of seasonal cottages on the narrow strip of sand were dismayed but not surprised: North Beach, as it's locally known, is in a continuous — and sometimes dramatic — state of flux. In 1987, a similar cut two miles to the south left a previously protected expanse of the bay shore exposed to the full force of ocean storms; 10 year-round mainland homes were destroyed as a result. Read more

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