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Features

  • Door Hanging Jigs

    Three craftsmen describe the jigs they use to speed the task of hanging doors.

     
  • Five Steps to Better Remodeling Sales

    The ability to sell is as basic to the business as construction skills. A remodeler shares some of the techniques he’s learned.

     
  • Builder's Guide to Common Code Violations

    A former builder, now a code official, reports on the violations he sees again and again, and how to avoid them.

     
  • Shopping for Entry Doors

    JLC examines what features and finishes to look for in exterior doors and reviews the latest innovations.

     
  • Window Technology Update

    Today’s high-tech windows offer more options than ever. We examine which features are worth the investment.

     
  • A Kitchen Installer's Tips

    An experienced tradesman shares tips and techniques for hanging kitchen cabinets quickly and without error.

     
  • Bath Design Basics

    How to design successful baths — starting with accurate fixture dimensions and comfortable clearances.

     
  • Detail: Site-Built Medicine Cabinet

    This custom mirrored cabinet assembles with standard tools and materials and packs ample storage.

     
  • The Down & Dirty on DWV

    A plumber explains how vents and traps work and how to solve some difficult venting problems.

     
  • New K&B Products: More Choices, More Questions

    Do you want a cool top range, a halogen burner, or a gas-fired ceramic? Our k&b expert makes sense of these latest offerings and more.

     
  • Married to the Business

    Three couples share the techniques they’ve learned to make their companies and marriages work together.

     
  • The Practical Healthy House

    Demand is growing for homes with fewer harmful materials. An architect/builder gives his description.

     
  • Case Study: Timber Frame Fiasco

    The five-year-old house looked fine until they opened up a wall and discovered severe decay. A year later, the building was torn down. Here are the lessons learned.

     
  • Detail: Two Classic Trim Styles

    A finish contractor shows how to satisfy Classical or Victorian tastes using off-the-shelf moldings and a little imagination.

     
  • Employee Benefits That Work

    Contractors share the benefits they’ve devised to keep employees happy without busting the company’s budget.

     
  • Field Guide to Common Framing Errors

    In traveling to sites around the country, this field rep sees a lot of framing failures that could have been easily prevented.

     
  • Keeping Scaffolds Safe

    Understrength or damaged planks cause many staging failures. A wood technologist explains how to avoid these and other accidents.

     
  • On Site With Gypsonite

    The Journal tests a new type of wall-board that manufacturers promise will revolutionize the industry.

     
  • Waterborne Finishes for Hardwood Floors

    Originally developed to comply with solvent regs, water-based finishes are now winning converts. A flooring contractor tells how to make them work.

     
  • Concrete Cutting & Drilling

    Slicing and boring concrete can be fast and economical if you rent the right tools — or hire the right sub.

     
  • Interview: Demolition With Care

    A high-end remodeler describes the finer points of tearing out: from hand-holding and bidding to shoring and jacking.

     
  • A Victorian Cupola

    A woodworker builds a traditional New England cupola with a curved hip roof.

     
  • How Big is a House

    Not all 2,000-square-foot houses have the same usable living area. Here’s how professionals measure square footage.

     
  • Introduction to Critical Path

    CPM scheduling is a big-job technique that can pay off for the small builder as well. A management pro walks you through the basic techniques.

     
  • Plumbing Pointers for Remodelers

    A few plumbing surprises can easily blow your estimate. A master plumber tells you what to look for on a pre-bid inspection.

     
  • Unit-Cost Estimating for Remodeling

    Unit pricing is faster than stick bidding, and can be just as accurate. A remodeling expert tells how.

     
  • Cathedral Ceiling Solutions

    It’s tough to get the necessary insulation and ventilation into a compact sloped ceiling. Here’s what works best for contractors around the country.

     
  • Clearing the Kitchen Air

    Not all kitchen exhaust fans are created equal. Here’s a rundown of what works to clear the air, and what doesn’t.

     
  • Detail: Best Energy-Efficient Wall Design

    This strapped wall design won top honors for energy-efficiency, buildability, and simplicity.

     
  • Engineered Beams & Headers

    Engineered beam stock is finding its way onto more sites. This review of glulams, LVL, and other specialty beams tells how to make the best use of the new materials.

     
  • Good Help Wanted

    Can’t find decent carpenters anymore? Successful builders and remodelers share their strategies for recruiting and hiring good help.

     
  • Installing Fixed Glass

    An experienced sunspace builder describes how to install glass to get long-lasting performance in vertical and sloped applications.

     

Letters

News

Q&A

  • Q&A: Venting A Sloped Crawlspace

    Q: How do you vent a crawlspace under a house on a sloping site? On a recent job, the uphill side was covered with a patio and the customer wouldn’t accept window wells in the patio. Will this side get enough ventilation with conventional vents along the pony walls on the downhill side?

     
  • Q&A: Hemlock Board-and-Batten Siding

    Q: I am working on a project where native (New York) hemlock boardand-batten siding has been specified. I am not familiar with this material. How should I prep and install it?

     
  • Q&A: Underlayment for Tile

    Q: Should an underlayment be used with ceramic tile over a plywood subfloor? If so, what material would you recommend?

     
  • Q&A: Installing Shingles in Cold Weather

    Q: We have a lot of trouble installing fiberglass shingles in cold weather. The shingles tend to split and the tabs won’t seal. The old organic asphalt shingles seem to be unavailable. Any suggestions?

     
  • Image

    Q&A: Flashing Where Roof Abuts Sidewall

    Q: What is the best way to detail the connection of a pitched roof abutting a sidewall?

     
  • Q&A: Does Shrink or Swell As It Sets

    Q: I have talked to eight different concrete subcontractors, and four have claimed that concrete expands as it sets and four claim that it shrinks. Which is correct?

     
  • Q&A: End-Joist Blocking

    Q: I know blocking is needed in the mid-span area of a floor system. But is blocking necessary along the end-joist since this member is supported by the foundation and the subfloor?

     
  • Image

    Q&A: Eaves Venting With No Soffit

    Q: How can I ventilate the eaves of a roof that has no soffit, but has a gutter on the fascia?

     
  • Q&A: Footing Concerns With High Water Table

    Q: We are planning to build on a site with fine sand and silt soil. Code requires a foundation depth of at least 2 feet, but during the summer the water table rises to within 2 feet of the surface because of the irrigation of adjacent fields. How should the footing be designed to prevent possible...

     
  • Q&A: Drying Time for Spray Cellulose

    Q: What is the typical drying time for wet-spray cellulose insulation? What happens if the insulation freezes before it dries? Will it dry after it warms up in the spring?

     
  • Q&A: Moisture-Resistant Drywall on Porch Ceiling

    Q: Is moisture-resistant drywall an appropriate ceiling material for an open porch?

     
  • Q&A: Tying New Slab to Existing

    Q: What is the best way to tie the new slab floor of an addition to an existing slab-on-grade foundation?

     
  • Q&A: Water Stains on Glulams

    Q: On a recent job we had trouble with rain water getting through the paper wrapping on some architectural grade glulam beams. How can the water stains be removed?

     
  • Q&A: Painting Over Smoke Damaged Walls

    Q: Is there a paint or sealer that will encapsulate the smell of smoke on fire-damaged walls?

     
  • Q&A: Will Cellulose Make the Ceiling Sag?

    Q: I am planning to build with 12 inches or more of blown-in cellulose insulation in the ceilings. How much insulation can you put in a ceiling before the unsupported drywall between joists sags? I usually use 1/2-inch drywall with trusses 24 inches on-center.

     
  • Q&A: Copper Corrosion on Cedar Roofs

    Q: Can copper flashing be used with cedar shingles? I was told the natural oils in the cedar can corrode the copper.

     
  • Q&A: Best Primer & Paint for Stucco

    Q: What is the best primer and paint for an unpainted stucco exterior?

     
  • Q&A: Rigid Foam on Wall Interiors

    Q: Can rigid foam board be used on the inside of a wall as both insulation and a vapor retarder? If so, how should it be detailed?

     
  • Q&A: Silcone Caulk on Cedar

    Q: I have heard that silicon caulk should not be used with cedar trim. Is this true? If so, why?

     
  • Q&A: Venting a Diamond Hip

    Q: How should a "diamond" hip roof (one with four hip rafters rising to a point) be ventilated?

     
  • Q&A: Sheathing Nails Popping Through Shingles

    Q: A year ago, I removed an old wood shingle roof and replaced it with asphalt shingles. In many places, we replaced sections of the old board sheathing with new rough-sawn lumber. Now, the 8d common sheathing nails holding the new 6- to 12-inch-wide boards are popping up. Several nails have worked...

     

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