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Features

  • Detail: Stealing Space From a Truss Roof

    A remodeler describes how he used engineered lumber and steel plates to turn wasted attic space into a walk-in closet.

     
  • K&B Remodeling -- On Budget On Time

    This methodical approach, by a kitchen and bath remodeler, can help you avoid costly estimating and scheduling oversights.

     
  • Foam Foundation Forms

    Field reports show that this increasingly popular forming technique can work well if you take the time to learn the tricks.

     
  • Shopping for Kitchen Cabinets

    Does more money always buy a better cabinet? A retailer tells how to scrutinize a cabinet for construction features and details.

     
  • Roughing-In for Kitchens and Baths

    Here’s a prescription for installing k&b fixtures and appliances with minimal trouble, by a remodeling foreman.

     
  • Trailers on the Job Site

    How one contractor uses customized trailers as a tool for streamlining his business.

     
  • Eco-Friendly Building Products

    We review some practical products and materials that carry the green label.

     
  • A Guide to Green Building Resources

    Here’s a resource library for builders who want to build green but don’t know where to start.

     
  • The Lowdown on Low-Flow Toilets

    Ready or not, a federal law that kicks in next January will make low-consumption toilets mandatory in all new residential construction.

     
  • Making Job-Site Recycling Work

    A Northwest builder tells how sorting and recycling construction waste has cleaned up his job sites, reduced his disposal costs, and bolstered his image.

     
  • Protecting Trees During Site Work

    In saving trees at a job site, it’s often what you can’t see that counts most — the roots. Here are the keys to success.

     
  • Retrofit Weatherstripping with Silicone Bead

    Silicone bead is the best choice for weatherstripping existing doors. Now, new specialty tools make it a cinch to install.

     
  • Building Two-Story Window Walls

    A structural engineer offers some practical guidelines for building tall window walls that are strong enough for the job.

     
  • Case Study: Flat Truss Failure

    Excessive indoor moisture and heat caused the plates in these 2x4 floor trusses to spring loose and the floor to sag.

     
  • Concrete Block Foundations

    A mason describes how to lay out, reinforce, drain, and waterproof block foundations for top performance.

     
  • The Electrical Panel

    In this guided tour of a distribution panel, a master electrician tells how to make sure an electrical system is wired safely and correctly grounded.

     
  • Interior Trim Tips

    A finish carpentry foreman shares his strategies for producing high-quality finish jobs on time and on budget.

     
  • Interview: Through Thick and Thin A Design/Build Partnership

    Years ago builders Devon Hartman and Bill Baldwin decided to join forces. We talk with them to find out the secret of their success as business partners.

     
  • Laminate Countertops On Site

    A cabinet specialist describes the tools, materials, and techniques you’ll need for building high-quality custom countertops on site.

     
  • A Hiring Test for Carpenters

    The impression job applicants make in an interview may fail to predict how they’ll perform in the field. This simple test, given on-site, is a better indicator.

     
  • Foundation Replacement

    A foundation contractor describes the shoring techniques that make his replacement jobs safe and profitable.

     
  • Lead Paint Update

    With lead poisoning stories in the news, and state and federal regs swelling, remodelers are nervous. JLC proposes a commonsense approach to safeguard workers and clients, and avoid liability.

     
  • Prefab Masonry Fireplaces

    A mason describes how a new breed of hybrid fireplaces delivers the quality of a traditional masonry unit at one-third the cost.

     
  • Taking the Sag Out of Shed Dormers

    Shed dormers are a cost-effective way of adding space to a small house, but if not built right they will cause structural problems. An engineer tells how to avoid the pitfalls.

     
  • Working Cost-Plus

    Cost-plus contracts can ensure a profitable job for builders who keep careful records and maintain good communication with their customers. Here are the contract provisions and cost-tracking systems that have worked for one builder.

     
  • After the Storm: Hard-Won Lessons

    Coastal communities need stricter, clearer codes, better training of builders and inspectors, and better quality control, say the experts after a year of studying the most devastating storm in U.S. history.

     
  • Hydronic Radiant Heat for Wood-Framed Floors

    You don’t need to pour a concrete slab to get the benefits of radiant heat. An engineer describes new approaches that combine radiant heating with conventional floors.

     
  • Getting the Most From Mechanical Cooling

    Most central air-conditioning systems, new and old, fall far short of their rated efficiency. Here’s how to install a system for top performance.

     
  • The Last Word (We Hope) on Vapor Barriers

    The moisture mavens at JLC tackle the tough questions we commonly hear from our readers about this ever murky, 6-mil membrane. We hope it puts to rest any lingering doubts.

     
  • Thinset Tile Countertops

    Expensive tile counters are often spoiled by layout errors or cracks in the grout. A tilesetter describes the methods and materials that guarantee an attractive and durable installation.

     
  • Top 10 Profit Eaters

    A remodeling contractor describes common problems that erode profits, and steps he has taken to solve them.

     

Letters

News

Q&A

  • Q&A: Joist Spacing for Ceiling Drywall

    Q: What is the maximum joist spacing for ceiling drywall? Does it matter if the panels are oriented parallel or perpendicular to the joists?

     
  • Q&A: Termites Love Oak Floors

    Q: We are repairing an oak strip floor. Several boards obviously need to be replaced because of visible termite damage. Is there some way to evaluate the unseen damage to the rest of the floor?

     
  • Q&A: Shimming Foundation to Leveled Floor

    Q: We are working on an old house that has settled. The house must be jacked up so the floor can be leveled. But this will leave gaps between the joists and sill plates, or between the sill plates and the foundation. Should we raise the sill plates to the joists and shim between the sill and the...

     
  • Q&A: Ghost Lines on Siding

    Q: There are ghost lines of the wall studs on siding that is coated with a semi-transparent stain. What might be causing this?

     
  • Q&A: Installing Metal Roofs

    Q: Do you nail metal roof panels through the ridges or in the flats?

     
  • Q&A: Sealing Exterior Wood Doors

    Q: I’m sealing an exterior wood door. What is the best finish to use?

     
  • Q&A: Should Deck Posts Go in Ground?

    Q: Can 6x6 pressure-treated deck posts be sunk into the ground or should they be supported on concrete piers?

     
  • Q&A: Dehumidifying the Air

    Q: Can a dehumidifier be added to a forced-air system? If so, what should a contractor know about specifying this?

     
  • Q&A: Squeakless Floors

    Q: How can I avoid floor squeaks with a wood joist system?

     
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    Q&A: Flashing a Stucco Chimney

    Q: What is the best way to flash around a wood-frame-and-stucco chimney for asphalt shingle roofs?

     
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    Q&A: Taking the Twist Out of Wide Pine Flooring

    Q: We build a lot of reproduction Colonial homes and have problems with wide pine flooring shrinking, warping, and splitting. What is the best way to control this?

     
  • Q&A: Foam Under Floors

    Q: Can I use rigid foam panels sandwiched between subfloor and finish floor to insulate over a crawlspace?

     
  • Q&A: Leveling Existing Concrete

    Q: We need to level a concrete floor. Is there a way to grind or pulverize the old slab? Are there any other options?

     
  • Q&A: Forced Air vs. Hydronic Heat

    Q: What are the advantages of hot water heating systems vs. warm air systems?

     
  • Q&A: Venting a Shed Dormer

    Q: We build a lot of shed dormers that start at the ridge and have a roof pitch of about 3:12. I have never installed a ridge vent because I am concerned that snow will build up and leak through the vent on the dormer side. Now the code inspector insists the roofs must be ventilated. How should we...

     
  • Q&A: Rx for Bleeding Knots

    Q: What do you recommend for covering knots on exterior wood siding to prevent bleed-through?

     
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    Q&A: Ice-Proof Gutters

    Q: How should gutters be attached to prevent them from getting ripped off the fascia when ice accumulates during winter?

     
  • Q&A: Capillary Break at Footing

    Q: I have been told that crushed stone should be placed beneath foundation footings as a capillary break to prevent moisture from migrating up the foundation wall into the basement or crawlspace. Won’t this make the footing settle?

     
  • Q&A: Sizing a Steam Boiler

    Q: I am remodeling a large, older home that is heated by a low-pressure steam system. Because of the size of the house, steam seems to be a good system to use, but the boiler is obsolete. We are adding insulation and sealed double glazing. How can I calculate the required size of the new boiler? Or...

     

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