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Features

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    Adding Under

    With nowhere to go but down, this basement addition carves out extra living space from within the home’s existing footprint.

     
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    Making the Best of Rising Energy Costs

    Now is a good time to refine your green strategy in a way that guarantees profit.

     
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    Simple Sill Pans

    You already flash around doors and windows; you should be flashing under them, too.

     
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    21st-Century Greek Revival

    Use PVC trim to create a durable version of this classic cornice.

     

Letters

  • Letters

    Interior-design law; stabilizing steel against buckling; respect for legal immigrants

     

News

  • In the News

    Austin passes modest accessibility requirement for new houses; study finds pneumatic-nailer triggering has little effect on speed; builders fined for runoff; more

     

Q&A

  • Does Radiant-Barrier Paint Work?

    Q: My painting subcontractor is recommending Thermo-Tek, a paint the manufacturer says is a radiant barrier. What can you tell me about products like this one or similar coatings made with something called ceramic microspheres that claim to have thermal characteristics and promise significant...

     
  • Building With Logs

    Q: A design we're bidding on has several peeled cedar logs that function as both architectural and structural elements. Are there any rules of thumb for determining their strength so that they can be safely used without redundant grade-stamp framing - and so they meet the approval of a building...

     
  • Vertical I-Joists?

    Q: When building a super-insulated house, one of the ways to increase insulation levels in the wall assembly is to increase the thickness of the wall. But instead of using double-wall framing, would it be okay to frame walls with I-joists?

     

Business

  • Working the High-Rise Niche

    Our company has provided remodeling and handyman services to Chicago homeowners for the past 10 years. We started out working in single-family homes, but early on an architect hired us for a large job in a high-rise apartment building. Today, high-rise work accounts for half our volume. We work in...

     

Legal

  • Can a Handshake Be a Contract?

    One question I hear fairly often from builders is, “Can a contract with a client be enforced if it’s not in writing?” The short answer is yes, it can. Back in the days when I worked at the legal shark shop, we enforced unwritten contracts all the time — though we sometimes ran into problems.

     

Products

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    Products

    Packable water-based primer; biodegradable stripper; multi-tap transformer; high-quality wall caps; more

     

Toolbox

Backfill

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    Still Grinding After 200 Years

    Andy Shrake fixes windmills. Not the newfangled kilowatt-generating type, but the all-wood grain-grinding beauties built some 200 years ago. With 14 still standing on Nantucket, Cape Cod, and Rhode Island, repairing them is a full-time job.

     

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