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  • Building Above Grade With ICFs

    From planning and layout to applying the finishes, a North Carolina general contractor describes the process of building his first house using insulated concrete forms.

  • Practical Lighting Design

    Excerpted from the recently published Lighting Pattern Book for Homes, this article shows how to lay out and choose fixtures and lamps for improved light quality and better energy efficiency.

  • Retrofitting Skylights

    A skylight specialist walks through his procedures for retrofitting skylights in existing homes, including selling the job, layout, and installation.

  • Rot-Resistant Decking Options

    A few years ago, the main choices for rot-proof decking were redwood and pressure-treated lumber. Environmental concerns and the search for low-maintenance materials have spawned a host of new products, including new hardwoods, wood-plastic composites, and synthetic materials.

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    Spreadsheet Basics

    Are you still doing estimates and job-costing with pencil and paper? A builder and computer expert shows how to automate the process using a spreadsheet.

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    Solutions to Common Framing Problems

    Even experienced framers make mistakes. A wood-frame expert cites some of the most common errors he’s seen, and provides practical solutions for each.



  • Letters

    Rake wall layout options, rain screen siding details, charging what the market will bear



  • Notebook

    Soil erosion on job sites under scrutiny, 2x4 vs. 2x6 wall framing study, opposition to pay-if-paid laws growing



  • Q&A: Flood-Damaged Receptacles

    Q: I am doing renovation in a house that was flooded. Is it necessary to replace electrical receptacles that were under water?

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    Q&A: Squash Blocks & Web Stiffeners

    Q: I’ve been using wood I-joists for my floor framing. The designs have called for 1x4 crush blocking inserted between the top and the bottom 2x2 flanges and nailed directly to the OSB web. I’ve also heard of using 2x4s nailed to the face of the 2x2s, instead of being inserted between them. Which...





Kitchen & Bath


  • Products

    Carbide-tipped rebar cutter, inflatable knee pads, flood-detector sump pump, magnetic gate latch, flexible screening, new drywall corner bead