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Features

  • A Contractor's Guide to Asbestos

    By Gerald L. Wykoff. Sooner or later, every renovation contractor will run into this menacing material. Be prepared in your contracts and company policies.

     
  • In Search of Simple, Low-Cost Ventilation

    By Steve Loken. If you build tight houses but aren't in love with air-to-air heat exchangers, there must be a simpler solution. This Montana builder has been experimenting.

     
  • The Chimney Safety/Heat-Loss Dilemma

    By Charlie Page. How do you seal and insulate around a chimney flue? The codes conflict and the experts disagree on how to handle this critical detail.

     
  • Tuning Up New Heating Systems

    By Harris Hyman. If you think that a new, engineered heating system is going to work flawlessly from the day it's installed, you're in for a surprise—and a callback.

     
  • Update on Plastic Plumbing

    By Richard E. White. Before plastic plumbing makes any inroads into residential water-supply systems, the manufacturers wi ll have to come up with a better joint system.

     
  • A Guide to Plastic Laminates

    By Ed Pell. What's the difference between high-pressure laminates, melamine panels, papers, vinyls, and other cabinet surfaces?

     
  • Auto-Faucets & Euro-Cabinets

    By Patrick J. Galvin. New materials and products from the functional and elegant to the downright bizarre. Electronic bathtubs, anyone?

     
  • New Plumbing Code: Cutting Costs or Cutting Corners?

    By Milton Snyder. The new CABO plumbing code allows smaller water, drain, and vent pipes that NAHB claims can save up to 36 percent in piping-materials costs. But at what cost in quality?

     
  • Scribing with a Router

    By Art Betterley. Tips for trimming laminates, countertops, and cabinets to fit in irregular spaces.

     
  • Thin-Set Ceramic Tile

    By Harry T. Swanson. Old mud-style jobs are too expensive, and mastic over drywall is too vulnerable to water. Thin-set offers an alternative.

     
  • What's Wrong with Builders' Kitchens?

    By Geoffrey Taylor. Don't just throw in a set of stock cabinets as an afterthought. Rather, think it through like a cook.

     
  • How to Control Sound Transmission Through Floors

    Henry Spies of the Small Homes Council focuses on soundproofing floors—the biggest acoustics problem in many multifamily projects.

     
  • Mastering Drywall

    There's more to it than slapping half-inch board all around and smearing on joint compound. Marylee MacDonald tells how better materials and techniques yield a better job.

     
  • Soundproofing Principles, Practices & Pitfalls

    The murky science of acoustical design is brought into focus by acoustics consultant Timothy Foulkes.

     
  • The Art & Science of Stair Design

    A successful set of stairs is so comfortable you don't notice it, says engineer Harris Hyman. And here's how…

     
  • Using Less Glass With More Thought

    Practical tips from architect John Rahill on how to bring light and views into a house using a sensible amount of glass.

     
  • Veneer Plaster: A Premium Finish in One Step

    Veteran plasterer David Matte tells how to get an old-world plaster finish with the new one-coat system.

     
  • Communication: The Key to Remodeling Success

    Spell out your expectations and commitments at the beginning, or be prepared for misunderstandings that can mushroom into financial disaster. H enri de Marne proves his point with two case studies.

     
  • Conference Report: Timber Framers' Guild

    Roving Editor Paul Hanke expected a mass melee over the topic of stress skins, but he found a good old celebration of timber- framing finesse instead.

     
  • Confessions of a Renovator

    How a starry-eyed-builder learned the hard way about architects, customer relations and 100-year-old farmhouses. Roland Merullo tells all.

     
  • Delicate Demolition

    There's more to demolition than sawing, sledging and hoping for the b est. Engineer Harris Hyrnan reviews the principles and techniques of removing part of a standing structure.

     
  • How Retrofitting Can Hurt Bricks

    Canadian correspondent Jon Eakes explains how adding insulation to a brick wall or masonry foundation can do more harm than good—unless you deal with moisture movement first.

     
  • Sound Advice on Renovations

    During renovation is an ideal time to improve sound control in a building. Author Jon Eakes explains simple, inexpensive techniques for keeping rooms quiet.

     
  • Low-Tech Building Techniques for Energy-Efficient Housing

    Engineer Marc Rosenbaum tells us how to build energy-efficient houses without spending a bundle, and gives a review of some of the products he's used.

     
  • Passive Solar Stages a Comeback

    Others say that solar is dead, but Harris Hyman is convinced it's on the rebound. Energy-efficient window glazings are mak- ing the difference, he says.

     
  • Recipe for Heating Comfort: Mix It Well Over a Low Flame

    Jon Eakes reviews the basics of indoor humidity, explains what makes a heating system healthy and comfortable, and pre- views a new gizmo on the Canadian market that promises to change the way we think about electric heat: the silicone- controlled r

     
  • Wet Insulation: More Moisture Myths Unmasked

    Henri de Marne explains why some of the stories we hear about moisture and insula- tion are just all wet.

     
  • A Builder's Guide to Water Testing

    Gene Rosov of the Water Test Corporation tells builders what to look for in a water-testing lab—and how to avoid problems (and possible lawsuits) related to water quality when you build.

     
  • On-Site Sewage Systems: A Look at the Options

    Henri de Marne looks at the basics of construction and outlines some of the more promising options.

     
  • Waterproofing Choices

    A leak-free basement may not be as elusive as you thought, says Paul Hanke, who offers some tips and gives an overview of some of the waterproofing products on the market.

     
  • Well, Well, Well

    John Voytek Jr. of the National Water Well Association explains how wells are constructed and answers some common questions about wells and groundwater.

     
  • A Guide to Scaffolding Systems

    The technical staff of The Old-House Journal tells us everything we need to know to get the job done right (and safely).

     

Letters

Q&A

  • On The House

    Vapor 'Barrier' Paints, Is Superinsulation Overrated? Gravity Loops, Energy Fortune-Telling

     
  • On The House

    Foundation Cracking, Insulating Log-Home Foundations, Pressure-Treated Wood Foundations, Climate Concerns, Shingling Over Shingles, Insulation Retrofit

     
  • On The House

    Insulation Squeeze, Metal-Roof Corrosion, Weird Nailing Method

     
  • On The House

    What Do Test Pits Really Tell Us? Detecting 'Hidden' Damage in Wood, Insulating Under Aluminum Siding

     
  • On The House

    Wood Preservatives & Health Concerns, Driveway Specifications, No Simple Answer on Siding, Moisture-Resistant Finishes for Wood, Composting Toilets: How Effective?

     
  • On The House

    Terminating Termites, Vinyl-Siding Problems, R-Value Queries, Moisture and Thermal Bridging

     
  • On The House

    Steam-Heating Efficiency, Fire-Rated Wall Systems, What Kind of Sheathing? Siting for the Sun, Ventilating for Appliances

     

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