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On the Job

  • Building a Freestanding Wall

    John LaTorre Jr. shows how to build a wall that's an independent structure when there are no other walls to tie into for rigidity.

     
  • The covers for the hydronic heat in this studio were fabricated and installed in less than five hours.

    Wood Covers for Hydronic Baseboard

    Remodeler Randal Patterson shows how to make simple wooden covers for hydronic baseboard heat.

     
  • Basement Stairs Transplant

    Stacking the basement stairs under the stairs to the second floor opens up the living space.

     
  • Working With Roxul Insulation

    Choosing insulation for a high-performance home in Northern Vermont requires thought and care. The right choice can make a huge difference in both comfort and cost efficiency.

     

Business

  • In addition to creating a drawing and spec sheet, such as the one shown above, for small, medium, and large versions of each project type, the author also creates a complete estimate, including all quantities. Complex projects can be estimated by combining templatesfor example, combining templates for a kitchen addition, a powder room, and a laundry.

    Estimating Using Templates

    Whether you estimate with an off-the-shelf system or using an Excel spreadsheet, most systems today are built around a database of unit pricing items. Here are some tips to get you started.

     
  • Approving Overtime

    Managing employees' overtime can be tricky. Here are a few tips to keep your staff happy and your company out of the courtroom.

     
  • Oops­— Was That 100 Feet or 1,000?

    Can a mistake related to a contract be corrected? It depends on who makes the error and how it affects the agreement.

     
  • Have Job Will Travel

    Unless an employee is driving to or from home, he needs to be paid for travel time.

     
  • To improve your author rank, edit your Google profile to include a list of websites for which you provide content (right). Adding your Google ID to your content means your image will display in search results (below), which tends to produce higher click rates.

    Author Rank and SEO

    For top online search ranking, be a subject matter expert.

     
  • Personal Dashboard

    Setting up a single screen with your calendar, email, and links to your favorite websites can save you hours of surfing.

     

Energy

Products

  • Independent Sash Locks

    Each sash on the Next Generation Ultimate Double Hung locks directly to the jamb, so one can be opened while the other stays in place.

     
  • Thick Composite

    Low-maintenance and dimensionally stable, Boral's TruExterior Trim now comes in a 1 1/2-inch thickness.

     
  • Fire-Resistant Lightweight

    Up to 30% lighter than standard 5/8-inch Type X board, Easi-Lite 30 combines reduced weight with fire resistance.

     
  • Lock & Rock

    Armstrong’s QuikStix pre-engineered drywall grid system uses two types of studs. The company claims the system cuts framing time in half.

     
  • Plumb & Play

    The Warmsource system simplifies hydronic heating by stuffing all the manifolds and controls into a little tank on top of the main storage tank and using X10 technology to eliminate the need for thermostat wiring.

     
  • Power Saver

    The EdgeHome system displays electricity use for electronic devices, allowing homeowners to see and control individual loads, thanks to controllers placed behind each outlet and switch box.

     
  • Stealth Furnace

    The 4415 High Output Linear Gas Fireplace heats up to 2,100 square feet of space and its crushed glass floor makes for sparkling aesthetics.

     
  • Attic Cooler

    This Zip System sheathing panel features a barrier on the underside that reflects radiant heat.

     
  • Clean Comfort

    The WaterSense-approved Avalanche CT toilet is a high-efficiency model that offers one-piece design with contemporary styling.

     
  • Bath to Shower

    The Bellwether is a clean-lined enameled cast iron base available in six colors and two sizes.

     
  • Floor Muffler

    For use under ceramic, porcelain, or stone floor tile, the filaments in the UltraLayer pad create a capillary effect that dampens sound as well as muffling impact.

     
  • Easy Epoxy

    Quikrete’s water-based Epoxy Garage Floor Coating kit comes in a 5-gallon pail with all you need to coat the floor of a one-car garage.

     
  • Wet Set Epoxy

    Formulated for adhering threaded rod and reinforcing bar into concrete.

     
  • Snap-In Storms

    These sturdy inserts are custom made.

     
  • Small Home Tankless

    A gas-fired condensing unit with an Energy Factor of 0.94 for both NG and LP fuels.

     
  • Adjustable Humidty

    A screwdriver is all you need to make adjustments to this state-of-the-art sensor.

     
  • Tileable Drain

    Covering support consists of a stainless steel plate with a coating that allows bonding to ceramic or stone tile.

     
  • Bridging for Drywall Studs

    Can be installed with a single screw and is compatible with conventional and proprietary drywall studs.

     
  • Precut Flashing

    Should make it easier to flash electrical boxes and other penetrations.

     
  • Vapor Open Monolith

    Vapor migrates in and out by passing along a molecular chain in the membrane.

     
  • Walk the Plank

    Mimics the hardwood planks seen in older docks and jetties.

     
  • Variable Heat

    "Full Flame" burner technology varies the air-fuel ratios to generate more or less heat while still maintaining a strong flame.

     
  • Affordable Prep Sink

    Each sink has a 90-degree ledge pressed into the front and back that converts it to a food-prep center.

     
  • Stands Up to Salt

    Engineered for corrosive environments, such as right on the ocean.

     

Toolbox

  • Wormdrive Update

    A look at what's new in Bosch and Skil wormdrive saws.

     
  • Milwaukee M18 Jobsite Radio Charger

    Milwaukee’s new 17-pound, 18-volt M18 Jobsite Radio/Charger can charge or run on any battery from the M18 platform and is the first jobsite model to include a Bluetooth receiver.

     
  • Bosch 18V Multi-X Oscillating Multi- Tool

    A handy remodeling tool for everything from delicate material removal to finishing touches, Steve Demetrick reviews this Bosch cordless model.

     

Backfill

Other Articles

  • A Finish Carpenter's Bag of Tricks

    Jesse Wright takes a look at a dozen or so must-have small hand tools that he carries with him every day in his work as a finish carpentry in Concord, Calif.

     
  • A Trip to the Recip Blade Factory

    If you've ever wondered how recip saw blades are made, here's your chance to find out. Tools of the Trade editor Dave Frane toured a factory last winter and convinced Lenox to let him take photographs of just about everything he saw.

     
  • Remodeling Growth to Taper a Bit by Year End, JCHS Forecasts

    Latest LIRA report would have tailed off further had a previous indicator not been removed.

     
  • An Incredible Home-Made Router Table

    Why buy a router table when you can make one in the shop. I mean, how hard can it be? Well, that depends. This one is pretty ingenious, but we're pretty sure it took a little planning.

     
  • Spotlight on Wood Countertop Refinishing

    We recently tackled an oak countertop refinishing project in the pantry of a client's home. This tends to be very dry wood, so when it checks, it can get big in a hurry.

     
  • Save the Trades

    Ottawa, Illinois high-school students shine in national spotlight for protesting the cut of building trades training.

     
  • EPA Expands Oversight of Lead-Paint Rule

    Will remodelers come to dread a letter from the EPA more than one from the IRS?

     
  • DeWalt DWE7491RS Jobsite Table Saw

    The largest of three models introduced in 2013, this portable saw has a wheeled stand and 32 1/2 inches of rip capacity.

     
  • What is the Best Vehicle for Construction Work?

    There are plenty of ways to get yourself and your tools to the jobsite, plus a load of material or equipment. Everybody has their favorite—truck, van, trailer, or some other alternative. Please let us know about the vehicle you drive to work. We will publish the results in an upcoming article.

     
  • Ryobi Cordless Brad Nailer

    Ryobi has added the P320 brad nailer to its One+18-volt system. This tool offers hoseless nailing on a budget, and might be just the thing for service work and small jobs.

     
  • Ergodyne Squids Retractable Lanyard

    Ergodyne's retractable tool lanyards help prevent tools from falling off a ladder or roof, without inhibiting your ability to work.

     
  • Opening Day Quandary

    For many folks who live out here, showering outdoors is a cherished experience from Spring until the first hard freeze, and I have literally been counting the days up to today.

     
  • Simple Recessed Medicine Cabinet Details

    None of these details are super tricky but they require a good team of craftsman to ensure this simple detail doesn't look sloppy when it's completed.

     
  • Fleeing from Fire

    It's the stuff movies are are made of:  With only seconds to spare, a firefighter reaches project foreman Curtis Reissig, before a section of a blazing building collapses.

     
  • Concrete Lumber

    Made from a cementitious composite, this fire-proof lumber promises durability and strength.

     
  • A New Way to Set Up a Twin Blade Utility Knife

    Instead of using one regular and one hooked blade, what if you loaded the tool with something that didn't actually cut?

     
  • New Festool Cordless Track Saw

    While it turned a lot of heads at last month's JLC Live show in Providence, R.I., the cordless TSC 55 is not yet available in the U.S. What's up with that?

     
  • Top 18-Volt Cordless Tools for Remodelers

    Survey says: here are the tools remodelers have, the tools they would like to have, and their favorite brands.

     
  • Have Strict Building Codes Saved Chile?

    Strict building codes and the preparedness of millions of Chileans have been credited with the low death toll after an 8.2-magnitude earthquake rumbled off the coast of northern Chile this week.

     
  • Renting the Sun

    For a very minimal down payment, I will have a low fixed price per kWh for the next 20 years—basically renting the sun.

     
  • Dust Collecting Circular Saw

    This 7 1/4-inch saw uses cyclonic action and a washable filter to collect dust without the use of a vac.

     
  • CNC Routing Comes to the Jobsite

    This 35-pound, toaster-oven-sized CNC machine can cut, rout, or carve an area 6 by 8 inches up to 4 inches deep.

     
  • Watertight Replacement Windows

    Flashing windows is not just for new construction. Here are details on how to help prevent window leaks when working around the major types of siding.

     
  • Warming up to Energy-Efficient Building

    Savvy builders embrace the changes that will make their houses perform better and be more durable.

     
  • A Tale of Two Hazards

    There are no clear policies for the two biggest IAQ hazards - carbon monoxide and radon.

     
  • Multi-Tool Sealant Knife

    If you've ever had to remove a lot of old caulk, then you'll know exactly how cool this blade really is.

     
  • Zippy the Cordless Circ Saw

    Milwaukee's new FUEL circular saw reportedly cuts faster and offers more runtime than conventional cordless models.

     
  • EPA's Wood Smoke Plan Draws Fire

    Are the wood stoves allowed under the EPA's proposed wood smoke plan too costly? Depends on how you calculate the cost.

     
  • It Takes More Than Tools to Be a Craftsman

    For that carpenter who complains all the time he doesn't have the right tools, here's a humble reminder that craftsmanship trumps tools any day.

     
  • Future of Buildings: Flow Batteries

    Using flow batteries, wind and solar power may soon be stored on site.

     
  • New Bosch "Dust Extractors"

    These vacs have self-cleaning filters and integrate with the company's L-Boxx system.

     
  • Slow Progress on HVAC Efficiency Standards

    Why are we still living with the same AFUE and SEER ratings we've had since the 80s? HVACR distributors and natural gas lobbyists have been worried about the fall out.

     
  • Paint Emergency: Water Damage Repair

    Without doubt, water damage repair of ceilings are the most popular paint emergency call we receive at Topcoat.

     
  • Scuppers and Drains for Waterproof Decks

    The worst dry-rot damage usually occurs where drains and scuppers penetrate a deck. Here’s how to avoid it.

     
  • Standardized Energy Retrofits

    Can we tell what an older house will need as an energy upgrade simply by identifying it's building type? Can these standardized energy improvements be applied without an audit? Just how effective can they be? These are a few of the questions that a few Building America research teams have been...

     
  • Thingamejig Scribing Tool

    It's a bit pricey, but the Thingamejig may be the most cost-effective scribing tool available. Some folks will say they can achieve the same result with a $3 compass scriber. But they can't—at least not efficiently.

     
  • Why Builders are Having a Hard Time Finding Workers

    The shortage of skilled workers continues to slow-down the housing recovery. What's the solution for our industry?

     
  • Less Expensive Laser

    The Bosch GLL 3-50  is a less-expensive alternative to a pricier Bosch model that projects plumb, level, and square from a single, stationary point.

     
  • 'Roofmelt' is Not an Answer

    We know that, right? It's frightening anyone would say that calcium chloride tablets will solve ice dam problems.

     
  • Innovative Ladder Brackets

    WorkSafe Ladder Brackets can prevent ladders from falling or kicking out by securing them to a sound fascia or another structural surface.

     
  • Temporary Construction Power Box - Build your own!

    If you build or remodel homes for a living you've definitely encountered times when the crews didn't have enough power. Here's how we bring a portable power panel to our jobs to get everyone connected.

     
  • Time to Boycott Angie's List?

    Despite being popular with the consumer, Angie's List has been nothing but a headache for many contractors and remodelers ever since it started. It now appears that a number of people within the remodeling industry have had enough and are calling for it's head. Is it time to deliver a killing blow...

     
  • Sole Survivor. What's on Your Feet?

    Do you prefer sneakers or tennis shoes for lightness and agility on the jobsite? You might want to think twice about what you wear on your feet.

     
  • DeWalt Layout Laser

    This combination tool shoots both lines and dots, and can be used in place of a plumb bob.

     
  • The Super-Organized Shop Comes to the Jobsite

    If lean means learning to see waste and eliminating it, then this work setup is lean to the point of being skinny.

     
  • Keep the Views with Cable Rails

    There are a range of cable railing systems available, with each manufacturer offering unique choices in posts, rails, and hardware. The slide show provides a quick introduction to some of the choices.