Photos Prove the Point
I enjoyed "Photography for Contractors" (7/07). We photograph
for other reasons. Our business sells lighting and plumbing
fixtures to builders; we make an average of 10 deliveries a
day. In the past, some contractor would call nearly every week
saying he was missing a chandelier or a ceiling fan. Believing
we had delivered the items, we would assume the electrician was
taking them home instead of installing them. So I bought
inexpensive digital cameras and we began to photograph every
delivery, making sure to capture the house in the background so
that the builder could see what was delivered to the job.
The word soon spread among the subcontractors, and we did not
have a report of a missing item for the next four months. The
next time it happened, the photograph proved that we had
actually made an error. In another case, a builder claimed a
shortage six months after a delivery, but the photo clearly
showed the missing item.
So now, just in case, we save the pictures on our computer for
at least two years.
The Fixture Gallery
Blue Springs, Mo.
Flashing, Not Caulk
The article "Replacing Doors in Stucco" (7/07) was very
informative. One simple improvement I would make is to place a
piece of copper flashing over the PVC head casing, slipping it
under the stucco and behind the existing building paper. That
way, you're not relying on a bead of caulk to waterproof the
joint, especially on the ends where water might get around the
peel-and-stick membrane. This is also an added architectural
P. Scott McCracken, GC
Vero Beach, Fla.
Shimming Jamb Extensions
The technique described in "Faster Jamb Extensions" (5/07) is
interesting and could have a variety of applications.
My own approach when installing vinyl windows is to first rip
strips of waste material ranging in thickness from 1/16 inch to
1/2 inch by 16ths, then cut the strips to the width of the
jamb. I then slide a shim or shims of the right thickness
between the window frame and the rough frame, inserting them
about 1/8 inch into the gap. I put shims at the corners and a
few points in between. After preassembling the jambs, as the
author of the article does, I slide them between the shims and
nail them in place.
This has the advantage of providing support across the width
of the jamb, so that the casing isn't the only thing holding
the outer edge straight.
Energy Code Follow-Up
In "A Builder's Guide to Energy Codes" (6/07), I was quoted as
saying that "fewer than 10 percent of new houses [in Vermont]
are in compliance with the code." My quote could be
misinterpreted, and I would like to clarify it.
From a purely technical perspective, I believe that my
estimate of 10 percent code compliance is about right. However,
"code compliance" in Vermont means not only building to the
correct technical standards, but also filing paperwork with the
town clerk and the Vermont Department of Public Service. While
most new homes probably meet the technical compliance
standards, I believe that the filing levels are somewhere
around 10 percent.
If the goal of codes is to get homes to save energy, I believe
that Vermont is doing a good job. However, we could do better
at keeping track of our progress by filing the right
Vermont Energy Investment Corp.