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  • Cost-Effective Marketing for Builders

    A builder with a fast-growing business explains how co-op advertising provides the extra funds for a high-quality, high-volume marketing campaign.

  • Cutting Barrel-Vault Rafters

    This custom builder used a site-built jig to make quick work of cutting composite curved rafters.

  • Detailing Laminate Flooring

    A flooring contractor shares layout, installation, and trim tips for producing a professional-looking job.

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    Installing A Skylight

    Leak-free skylights start with careful attention to the manufacturer's directions, according to this veteran installer.

  • Using A Volt-Ohm Meter

    A master electrician describes how to trace wires, identify circuits, and diagnose common job-site electrical problems.

  • Buying a Compressor

    Here's what you should know to choose a compressor that matches your needs for air and recovery time.

  • Coming to Grips with Job-Site Paperwork

    Certain forms and checklists are necessary on the job, but too much paper can drag down productivity. A veteran contractor shows his simple, streamlined approach to job-site record keeping.

  • Finish Carpentry, Production Style

    Trim out a 2,800-square-foot house in one day? A production trim carpenter tells how.

  • Floating a Mud Bed for Ceramic Tile

    When it comes to flattening an old, irregular floor, there's still nothing like mud.

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    Souping Up a Tow-Behind, Remodeler's Style

    Besides providing extra workspace and valuable job-site storage, a trailer is also a traveling advertisement for your company.

  • Trouble-Free Foundations for Expansive Soils

    When the soil moves, your foundation had better not. A Colorado builder shares his approach for building on difficult soils.

  • Foundations & Site Work

    Building roads * Retaining walls * Footings * Walkout foundations * Stem walls * Slabs * Frost-protected foundations * Foundation repair * Half wall foundations * Tying-in to existing foundations * Foundation details

  • Foundation Drainage

    Preventing frost action * Perimeter drain design * Details for removing roof runoff * Placing drain tile

  • Structural Steel

    Steel specs * Wood beam to steel beam comparison * Attaching steel to wood * Splicing steel I-beams * Sizing flitchplates * Building flitch beams * Column cap & baseplate connections

  • Framing Guidelines

    Notching & boring joists & studs * Structural rules of thumb for wall, floor & roof framing * Shed dormers * Structural ridges * Framing solutions with metal connectors

  • Seismic & High-Wind Framing

    Shear walls * Hold-downs * Foundation anchors * Hardware layout * Retrofitting seismic connectors & shear walls * Nailing shear panels * Wood-to-wood and wood-to-masonry roof connections * Roof diaphragm details

  • Framing Techniques

    Anticipating lumber shrinkage * Plumbing & lining * Hanging barge boards * Stacking roof trusses * Truss uplift solutions * Steel framing details * Roof framing with wood I-joists * Framing & insulating cathedral ceilings

  • Energy-Tight Framing

    Tight attic penetrations * Insulated partition catches * Common thermal bypasses * Sealing the band joist

  • Kitchen & Bath Rough-In

    Tub, shower, toilet rough-in dimensions * Sink and lav dimensions * Framing & waterproofing a platform tub

  • Interior Framing

    Pocket doors * Tray ceiling details * Radius stair * Laying out & attaching newel posts * Soundproofing walls & floors

  • Exterior Details

    Drainage EIFS * Brick veneer * Wood deck ledger * Flashing a window

  • Building Squeak-Free Stairs

    A stair builder shows how to scribe and install finish skirts, treads, and risers.

  • Cordless Circular Saws

    We rounded up the beefiest battery-operated saws on the market and put them to the test.

  • Durable Trim For Coastal Construction

    This New Jersey custom home builder has traded wood trim for PVC.

  • How To Charge For Overhead

    Forget material markups: This method, successfully practiced for 20 years by an Iowa remodeler, assigns overhead and profit expense to billed time on the job.

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    Installing Crown Molding

    A finish contractor shares his production techniques for cutting and installing crown.

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    Preventing The Cash-Flow Crunch

    If you don't front-load your payment schedule, you may find that the cash crunch can put you out of business.

  • Repairing Cantilevered Balconies

    Unless flashed properly, cantilevered deck joists provide a path for rainwater to soak the wall framing. In this story, a specialty remodeler tells how he deals with the consequences.

  • Waterproofing Basement Walls

    We survey the major types of foundation waterproofing, from spray-on to peel-and-stick membranes.

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    Building Kitchen Cabinets In Place

    A cabinetmaker describes his system of constructing a custom vintage-look kitchen right on site.

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    Choosing Vinyl Windows

    There's more to vinyl windows than meets the eye. Here's an inside look at how they go together - and how you can use them to best advantage.

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    Portable Miter-Saw Stands

    A remodeler evaluates nine dedicated portable miter-saw stands for versatility, ease of transport, and ability to stand up to hard knocks on the job site.

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    Retrofitting Basements

    Building restrictions in California are prompting homeowners who want more space to add on underneath the house. A concrete contractor tells how it's done.

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    Shopping For A Generator

    The right-size generator will last longer and extend the life of your expensive tools. Here's what you need to know before you buy.

  • A Pop-Top Shed Dormer

    A remodeler describes how he created a dormer by jacking up part of an existing roof instead of building it from scratch.

  • Financing Spec Homes

    A builder tells how he uses banks, home equity, subordination agreements, and private investors to get the money to build on spec.



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  • Letters

    How to charge for overhead

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    Sealing Dutch doors, progress payments, asphalt-saturated felt

  • Letters To The Editor

    Painting popcorn ceilings, repairing a stone foundation, garage floor finishes, cracked manufactured stone

  • Letters

    Water heater abuse, architectural abbreviations, collapsed glazing, bid language, artesian well valve, asphalt shingle quality



  • Notebook

    Code copyrights questioned, research on radiant heating, Solar Decathlon, marketing wheat-straw board, union-funded home mortgages

  • Notebook

    California Fix-It Law, truss labeling law, Canadian softwood prices, smoke detector placement, Business Tune-Up

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    Fears of a housing "bubble," international code adoptions, smart wiring, recycling Thai railroad ties

  • Notebook

    Deck disasters, FBI plumbing inspector sting, California code excludes PEX, builder callback survey, demolition salvage

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    Liability insurance crisis, construction defects arbitration decision, Roof Tile Institute installation guide, fire resistance of outdoor decking, Business Tune-Up, more



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    Q&A: Building Barn Doors

    Q. I need to build three pairs of swinging barn doors to fit 8x7 openings. I'm looking for suggestions for a lightweight but sturdy door that won't fall apart. My approach was a sheet of 3/4-inch mdo with an applied 5/4 stile-and-rail effect. My main conc

  • Q&A: Insulating a Foundation

    Q. To turn a small outbuilding into a living space, I plan to pour a slab floor within the existing 4-foot frostwall foundation. How much and what kind of insulation should I use for the foundation, and where should I place it -- under the slab or next to

  • Q&A: Building Details for Asthmatic Clients

    Q. I'm building a custom home for clients who have asthma and allergies. What building details should I pay particular attention to?

  • Q&A: Electric Radiant Heat for a Small Space

    Q. I'm considering using electric radiant heating panels in the ceiling of a small superinsulated apartment, but I hear a lot of bias against electric heat. Can it be cost effective in this case?

  • Q&A: Garage Slab Drainage

    Q. How should a garage slab be sloped for drainage toward the overhead door? At 1/4 inch per foot on a 24x26-foot foundation, the height difference from front to back would be more than 6 inches. Do I need to grade the sand and gravel sub-base at the same slope so the slab can have a uniform 4-inch...

  • Q&A: Green Board vs. Standard Drywall

    Q. How is "green board" different from regular drywall? Where is it supposed to be used, and what are its limitations?

  • Q&A: Keeping Attics Cool

    Q. A two-story house I'm working on has a zoned air-conditioning system with ductwork running through the hot attic, and the A/C can't keep the upstairs zone cool on hot, sunny days. What's the best way to cool that attic space down -- add gable vents to the existing soffit and ridge vents setup...

  • Q&A: Tiling Over Old Linoleum

    Q. Is it okay to tile over an old linoleum floor? I'm concerned that the tiles might contain asbestos.

  • Q&A: Are Hidden Deck Fasteners Strong Enough?

    Q. I was hoping someone could shed some light on EB-TY. I use this product on 80% of the decks I build, and many are one or more stories high. I also live in a heavy snow area. The clips in that system hold the decking to the framing with pressure, not with mechanical fasteners, and I'm concerned...

  • Q&A: Life Expectancy of Metal Roofs

    Q. We're working on a 120-year-old house that still has its original standing-seam metal roof. A roof painter told the owner that this roof has 50 years of useful life left. Can a metal roof really last 170 years?

  • Q&A: Stripping an EPDM Roof

    Q. I have to strip off an EPDM roof. Is there anything special I need to know?

  • Q&A: Flickering Lights

    Q. I'm doing some wood siding repairs on a house, and every time I hit the trigger on my chop saw, the lights in the house flicker. The power company says the problem is with the house not their lines. But the lights in the house across the street flicker

  • Q&A: Drywall Disposal On Site

    Q. My excavation contractor offered to bury my scrap drywall on site, but I've heard buried gypsum can create a harmful gas. I've also read that it's okay to bury small amounts if you disperse it. Is it okay to bury drywall on site at all, and if so, what

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    Q&A: Curing a Sagging Entry

    Q. I just replaced the insulating steel and fiberglass door in an entry door assembly with dual sidelights. The new door strikes the jamb near the top on closing, and the clearance along the top is uneven. I tried driving a couple of long screws through t

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    Q&A: Making a Dutch Door

    Q. I'm trying to find plans for cutting a solid door slab and making a Dutch door. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Q&A: Felt or Rosin Paper Under Strip Flooring?

    Q. I'm using a new floor finisher, who's known as the best in this area. He saw that we had installed oak and ash floors over rosin paper and insisted that we should have used 30-pound felt. He says the rosin paper will degrade over time and won't provide any cushion between the subfloor and the...

  • Q&A: Shower Pipe Knocking

    Q. I am having a problem with a shower valve in a bathroom remodeling project. When you turn the water all the way to hot and then back off to around the middle of the temperature range, you get a pulsating water flow from the shower head and severe, loud knocking from the shower pipes in the wall...

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    Q&A: Construction Performance Guidelines

    Q. The article "A Simple Time & Materials Contract" (11/01) mentions the Residential Construction Performance Guidelines. I have been unsuccessful in finding this book; where can I get it?

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    Q&A: Exterior Ceilings

    Q. Patio covers are standard features of nearly every home built in the Phoenix area. Standard construction is wood frame with a drywall ceiling, taped, textured, and painted. Within ten years, the taping and texturing start to separate from the drywall. Retaping and texturing might make it last a...



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    LED light bulbs, new tile backer, doorjamb reinforcer, garden window, undercounter computer kit, more

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    Bucket dolly, pivot-head ratchet wrench, flat speaker wires, retractable plumb bob, toolbox on wheels, more

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    Router collection, outdoor speakers, elastomeric epoxy, PVC rain diverter, fibrous ridge vent, job-site radio

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    Cordless impact wrench, wall lift, cold-weather caulk, nonstick shovel, flexible duct, long-tail T-shirt, mini brake

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    Crawlspace ventilation system, cordless chop saw, adjustable door holder, dormer trim kit, earth-friendly decking, acrylic-block door insert, retrofit shower system, small skid-steer loader, more



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