May 2008 Table of Contents

Beyond the Basics With ICFs Beyond the Basics With ICFs

Curved walls and arch-topped openings are possible with standard blocks. Read more

Rebuilding a Chimney Top Rebuilding a Chimney Top

Stainless anchors and pressure-injected grout form a strong bond with the original masonry. Read more

Running Wire in Conduit Running Wire in Conduit

EMT costs more up front, but it's less likely to get damaged and makes future upgrades a lot easier. Read more

Stretching the Span With Steel Stretching the Span With Steel

T-shaped beams fabricated from a standard I-beam help uncramp a basement space. Read more

Writing a Best-Practice Manual Writing a Best-Practice Manual

Using a standardized set of procedures speeds installation and reduces callbacks. Read more


Air-sealing diagnostics; proposal to document illegal immigrants; preventing accidents; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A Vapor Retarders and Building Inspectors

Q: I'm building a house in North Carolina, which has a mixed-humid climate (climate zone 3). My local building inspector - backed up by his boss - requires a polyethylene vapor retarder on the interior side of cellulose-insulated walls. My insulation contractor says that interior polyethylene is not only unnecessary in this type of climate, but it may create condensation problems. What should I do? Read more

Q&A Removing Epoxy Grout

Q: After the tile installer left one of our recent projects, we found dried epoxy grout on some of the bathroom's fixtures. He also failed to remove the grate from the shower drain when he grouted and now excess epoxy clogs the drain and fills in the screw slots, making it impossible to remove the grate for cleaning or replacement. Is there an easy way to clean up his mess? Read more

Q&A Fix for Bouncy I-Joists?

Q: Instead of glue and nails, my framing subcontractor used screws to fasten the sheathing to the I-joists of a new 14-foot-wide addition. While there are no interior walls bearing on the floor system and no excessive notching in the I-joist flanges - and the joists fall well within the APA's allowable span guidelines - my clients say their floor is excessively bouncy. Does the use of adhesive contribute to the stiffness of an I-joist floor system? Would it help to add midspan blocking? Read more

Q&A Finger-Jointed Studs

Q: Can finger-jointed studs be used for wall plates and short window and door headers? Read more

On the Job
On the Job: Future-Proof Footings On the Job: Future-Proof Footings

Future-proof footings; fiber cement at a clip; squeak reducer Read more

Business Quality, Schedule, Price: Pick Two

All clients come to the table with a set of unspoken expectations, some of which they may not even be aware of. Because these assumptions will inform every decision they make, it's important to bring them into the open and prioritize them early on. This will help you decide whether you and the clients are a good fit — and it will make the job go more smoothly later on. Read more

Legal Pitfalls of a Down Economy

My husband, my brother-in-law, and I were sitting around reminiscing about construction slowdowns we've been through. (What can I say? We're old.) My brother-in-law talked about the '70s, when to avoid laying off his crew he sent them to his mother's house to paint. He was hoping that by the time they finished he'd have some other jobs lined up. Instead, he wound up sending them to the homes of his mother's friends, too. Read more

Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath

Appliances, fixtures, and finishes Read more

Toolbox Toolbox

Ridgid dual-bevel miter saw; planes; material handling Read more

Turning Monster Posts on a Shop-Built Lathe Backfill Turning Monster Posts on a Shop-Built Lathe

When a local remodeler approached me about reproducing five porch posts for a 140-year-old house in Boulder, Colo., my interest was piqued. Despite the fact that I didn't have a lathe — much less one that could turn 10-foot posts — I took the contract, figuring I could build my own to do the job. Read more

Other Articles
In the News

EPA lead rules published; Arizona loses workers; California BA pushes green standards; more Read more


Housewrap; asphalt roofing Read more

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