September 2009 Table of Contents

Building Zero-Step Entries Building Zero-Step Entries

Universal access should begin at the front door. Read more

Drying a Stone Cellar Drying a Stone Cellar

Letting the water run through keeps this 200-year-old basement dry. Read more

Home Performance Contracting Home Performance Contracting

Careful diagnostic testing is the key to cost-effective energy upgrades. Read more

Making Space for a Barrel Vault Making Space for a Barrel Vault

Modifying the existing trusses from below saved the cost of rebuilding the roof. Read more

Another Look at Vinyl Siding Another Look at Vinyl Siding

Manufacturers have successfully tackled some of the issues plaguing this low-cost cladding. Read more


Safe installation of basement water heaters; galvanized pipe for gas; painting old porch floors Read more

In the News
In the News In the News

Prevailing-wage rules complicate stimulus weatherization work; condo survives shaketable test; Minnesota requires fall-prevention screens in multi-unit dwellings; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A Painting Composite Trim

Does composite trim have to be prepped and primed like wood, or can it simply be painted? And what kind of paint should I use? Read more

Q&A Retrofitting a Brick Wall With Insulation

I'm rehabbing an old brick house in Charleston, W.V. I want to insulate the exterior walls, which are balloon-framed with 2x4s, unsheathed, and finished with brick. There's a 1- to 2-inch air space between the 11/2-story-high frame wall and the brick siding, and a weep system at the base of the brick. I see evidence of some water leakage over the years but no rot. Would it be okay to blow cellulose into the wall cavity? Read more

On the Job
On the Job: Arched Window Trim On the Job: Arched Window Trim

Site-made arched window trim; clean blades cut better Read more


Energy-efficient light fixture; stone and stucco rain screen; square shower drain; adhesive filler; plastic furring strips; more Read more

Toolbox Hilti PMC 36 and Agatec CPL 50 Lasers

The two new lasers I tested for this article — Hilti's PMC 36 and Agatec's CPL 50 — combine features not usually found together on one tool. Read more

ReechCraft Bronco All-Terrain Scaffolding System Toolbits ReechCraft Bronco All-Terrain Scaffolding System

Setting up scaffolding on uneven ground can be nearly impossible, but ReechCraft's Bronco All-Terrain Scaffolding System is made for the challenge. Read more

3M Peltor Digital Worktunes Headphones Toolbits 3M Peltor Digital Worktunes Headphones

Tune in to your favorite music while tuning out harmful noise with the Peltor Digital Worktunes headphones. Read more

Makita BTD144 Impact Driver Toolbits Makita BTD144 Impact Driver

Makita's new impact driver, the BTD144, has several useful features inspired by the company's extensive line of industrial drivers. Read more

Arcus Contoured Masonry Blade Toolbits Arcus Contoured Masonry Blade

Thanks to its unique saucerlike shape, the 7-inch Contoured Masonry Blade by Arcus can cut arcs with a radius as small as 15 inches. Read more

OtterBox Defender Series Phone Case Toolbits OtterBox Defender Series Phone Case

Protect your cell phone on the job site with a Defender Series case from OtterBox. Read more

Crawler CR01 Scaffold-Moving Device Toolbits Crawler CR01 Scaffold-Moving Device

With the Crawler CR01 scaffold-moving device, you can turn almost any scaffold with casters into a motorized unit. Read more

Watering Manhattan Backfill Watering Manhattan

They’ve been an integral part of New York City’s skyline for more than a century: thousands of wooden water tanks, banded with steel and capped by conical plywood roofs, perched alone or in clusters on buildings throughout the borough. Read more

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