September 2007 Table of Contents

Staff Report: Blackout Power Solutions Staff Report: Blackout Power Solutions

The small, gasoline-powered portable generator is the classic ad hoc response to a major power outage. Yet it may be the homeowner's worst possible choice. Able to provide only enough output for a few lights and a refrigerator, gas-powered generators need frequent refueling and make a lot of noise. Of even more concern is the fact that in a storm situation, portable generators often kill a few people, either by carbon monoxide poisoning or by electrocution. What's more, gasoline spills occasionally cause structure fires and serious burns, and if the do-it-yourself user decides to get creative and wire the generator directly into a home circuit, a generator set can "back-feed" the utility, sending lethal voltage to utility workers repairing lines. Our Staff Report looks at the available alternatives to portable generators and guides you in selecting the right size, switch, and wiring options for your needs. Read more

Breakline: An Ocean of Energy Breakline: An Ocean of Energy

An Ocean of Energy ~ Virtual Tsunamis Read more

Design: Gambrel Roof Structures and Wind Uplift Design: Gambrel Roof Structures and Wind Uplift

Gambrel Roof Structures and Wind Uplift Read more


Residential Framing Revised ~ Backdrafting Reminder ~ No Free Lunch Read more

Paint It Green Paint It Green

As federal and state governments try to get a handle on the pollution problem and the impact of "volatile organic compounds," or VOCs, they're turning their attention to paint. A cascade of regulations, moving from the EPA down through regional commissions and finally taking effect at the state level, is putting the squeeze on suppliers to reduce the solvent content of all paint, stain, and primer formulas — or else take the products off the market. Paint makers are staying ahead of the curve. After years of adjusting to California requirements, most suppliers can now provide low-VOC products that come close to matching the performance of the old solvent-borne formulations. But a close match isn't a perfect substitute — and therein lies the rub. For contractors in the field, reports Ted Cushman, the new formulas may call for some changes in the way they choose, handle, and apply their products. Read more

Products Products

Hot Roof ~ Heavyweight Contender ~ Job-Site Desktop ~ Strong-Wall Resource ~ ADA-Approved Door Handles ~ Sweet Cedar Railing ~ Flexible Arches ~ Steel Column Templates ~ Low-Vibration Recip Saw ~ Uplift Panel ~ Impact Curtain Read more

Soundings Soundings

Plywood vs. OSB: Which Is Better? Read more

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