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Features

  • Choosing a Sheathing Wrap

    We take a look at the key differences between housewrap, asphalt felt, and kraft building paper to help you make the right choice.

     
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    Cutting Fiber-Cement

    A Texas builder field-tests the best of the new fiber-cement shears and saws, and reports on his favorites.

     
  • Office Spaces that Work

    With careful design, your office can accommodate your staff, clients, and occasional crew members — and still allow you to get some work done.

     
  • Practical Foundation Waterproofing

    Combined with a working drain, this new type of plastic membrane keeps groundwater out of the foundation while allowing moisture in the concrete to evaporate to the outside. Here’s how it’s installed.

     
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    Skim-Coat Plaster

    A thin coat of plaster over gypsum blueboard provides the hard, durable, hand-troweled finish of traditional plaster at a reasonable cost. A Connecticut plasterer and finish carpenter describes the proper tools, materials, and techniques.

     
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    Floor Framing With Steel

    Steel floor joists provide flat, stiff floors over long spans and, thanks to new span tables, are easy to size. If you’ve been thinking about framing with steel, floors are a good place to begin.

     

Letters

  • Letters

    Metal roof questions; in praise of vinyl siding; vapor barriers; recessed fluorescents; bungalow windows; shower head heights; more

     

News

  • Notebook

    Teardowns becoming a trend; window problems in high altitudes; curved logs making it through the mills; prefab housing update; women in the trades; more

     

Q&A

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    Q&A: Asphalt Shingle Nailing

    Q: Can asphalt shingles be nailed above the adhesive strip? I have seen leaking low-slope roofs with relatively new asphalt shingles, where the leaks followed the nailing pattern. In the attic, there were rows of drip holes in the cellulose insulation on the attic floor. In this case, the shingles...

     
  • Q&A: Radiant Heat Barriers

    Q: I have seen many ads for radiant barriers designed to save energy. Is there any evidence that these radiant barriers can reduce home energy costs? If so, in what climates are they most effective? How should they be installed?

     
  • Q&A: Faulty Dip Tubes in Water Heater

    Q: I have an

     
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    Q&A: Pressure-Treated Lumber and Steel Roofing

    Q: I am considering installing steel roofing over 2x4 pressure-treated purlins. Can the chemicals used to treat lumber attack steel roofing?

     
  • Q&A: Foil-Faced Sheathing As Insulation

    Q: The architect for a new home in Virginia has specified a product called Energy Brace sheathing instead of plywood or OSB. The product feels like cardboard covered with foil. The manufacturer claims that the product has energy benefits. Am I right to be doubtful?

     
  • Q&A: Finishing a Pine Floor

    Q: I am installing 1x12-inch-wide Eastern white pine flooring throughout a new home, including the kitchen. Since the flooring is used in high-traffic areas, I want to choose a finish that will provide long service. What do you recommend?

     
  • Q&A: Estimating Software for Pole Buildings

    Q: I recently had the opportunity to bid on a pole building. Do any software companies sell estimating software for post-frame construction?

     
  • Q&A: How Rain Screens Work

    Q: I plan to install wood siding over a vented rain screen on a house in Seattle, where we get rain for long periods during the winter. My question is, how can the air cavity dry if the exterior relative humidity is 100 percent? Assuming the air cavity temperature is the same as the exterior...

     
  • Q&A: EPDM Roofing Bubbles

    Q: After installing an EPDM roof, I noticed that there are a few air bubbles under the roofing. Is this a problem? If so, is there any remedy?

     

Design

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Reviews

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Products

  • Products

    Rebar safety caps; junction box fits peak of cathedral ceiling; new drywall anchor; fold-up wheelbarrow; plastic structural lumber; drywall repair compound; shingle clips hold tools while you work on the roof; more

     

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