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    Fast Fixes for Closet Flanges

    A few simple tools and techniques take most of the misery out of repairing these critical plumbing fittings

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    Framing Rake Walls

    Full-scale layout using actual rafters is fast and accurate

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    Glass-Block Shower Window

    A cast-in-place concrete sill sheds water outside and protects the framing on the inside

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    Rotproof Fences

    Keep water moving and seal up the end grain for a long-lasting fence in a wet climate

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    Using a Tablet Computer

    You write on it like a legal pad, but it has the computing and communication power of a desktop PC



  • Letters

    Proper water-heater temperature; performance guidelines; preventive maintenance; more



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    In the News

    Coastal insurance crisis; concrete-canoe race; toilet testing; wetlands ruling; more



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    Rejuventating Aged Drywall

    Q: My company is converting a garage with drywall on its walls and ceiling into living space.The joints have been taped with one coat of mud, but some of the tape is dry and loose, and the drywall's paper surface — which was never primed — has darkened an

  • Borate-Treated Lumber Okay For Mudsills?

    Q: I know that some framers are using lumber treated with SBX (sodium borate) as a substitute for ACQ because it is less corrosive to fasteners, but I'm concerned about short-term exposure to rain and the longevity of the borate treatment itself, which co

  • Q&A: Noisy Expansion Tank

    Q: Even though I followed the manufacturer's specifications when I installed the 2-gallon thermal expansion tank and check valve for my customers' domestic hot-water system, they still complain of "clicking" noises, mainly during the heating season. Does

  • Woodpeckers and Cedar Siding

    Q: We recently completed a house that features vertical T&G cedar siding, but now my clients are complaining about woodpeckers making holes in the siding. Are there any simple techniques for dealing with this problem?


On the Job

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    Installing Sheet Piles

    When you live on a barrier island, just keeping your little piece of real estate from washing away is a constant struggle. Fred Sprinkle, a foundation and excavation contractor on Dauphin Island, Ala., frequently uses vinyl sheet pilings to keep the ground beneath his clients' homes from ending up...



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    Columns, Posts, Piers: What's Best for the Porch?

    There's no question that a porch looks and feels best when all of its components relate to the rest of the house's design. In an earlier column, we focused on how porch guardrails can complement a home (5/06); here, we'll talk about ways that porch columns, posts, and piers can do the same.




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    Keep Your License Current

    The California Supreme Court recently made a decision that I personally disagree with. Does the court care what I think? I'm sure it doesn't. Do you care? Well, you should — even if you're in another state — because if you don't keep your license current, you could face the same problem as the...


Kitchen & Bath


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    Garage storage; windows; flashing



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    PLS2E laser; drywall lift from eBay; specialty nailers; lifting equipment



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    The Biggest Thing to Hit Town in 74 Million Years

    About 80 miles northwest of Des Moines, Iowa, lies the small town of Manson. Nothing much has ever happened there, unless you count the time 74 million years ago when a giant meteor crashed nearby. Actually, calling it "giant" doesn't do it justice: The meteor was 1 1/2 miles across, weighed 10...