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Features

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    Building Truss Roofs The Safe Way

    Preassembling truss roof sections on the ground decreases risk and saves time. A veteran builder describes his step-by-step method.

     
  • A Simple Kitchen Bay Window

    A box-bay window placed at counter height makes it possible to run the countertop right into the bay and bring the outdoors in.

     
  • Prefinished Strip Flooring

    Recent advances in surface finishes, a wider selection of woods and colors, and improvements in the installed appearance make a strong case for factory-finished floors.

     
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    Radon Vent Retrofit

    A radon remediation contractor shows how to install vent pipes beneath a slab to carry radon harmlessly to the outdoors — all for a reasonable cost.

     
  • Staging High Work

    New scaffolding products and personal safety gear make it easier than ever to perform high work safely.

     
  • A Simple Time & Materials Contract

    A Florida remodeler heads off client misunderstandings with this plain-language contract, which explains exactly what customers are paying for and why.

     
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    Designing Balanced Lighting

    A lighting designer explains why most rooms require light from a variety of sources — ambient, task, and accent.

     
  • New Tools for 2002

    From the aisles of the National Hardware Show, these pro-duty tools may answer the needs of your production team.

     
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    No-Callback Carpet Installation

    Though it ultimately comes down to the carpet installer, there are measures the GC can take to ensure a top-notch job. Here’s the lowdown on choosing the right carpet and pad, locating seams, and prepping the site for installation.

     
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    Success With EIFS

    A team of EIFS investigators and consultants provides advice on the design, materials, and installation details that make for a durable job.

     
  • Charging For Estimates

    Twelve builders offer solid reasons for bucking the tradition of giving free estimates and tell how they get paid for the upfront work.

     
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    Commonsense Lead Safety

    A remodeling contractor describes the practical measures he takes to keep workers and customers healthy, avoid legal costs, and create a clean, comfortable work site.

     
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    Insulating with Spray Cellulose

    An insulation contractor explains why he prefers damp-spray cellulose for wall applications and how he installs it.

     
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    Laying a Stone Floor

    A custom builder and remodeler describes how her crew cut and laid a sandstone floor.

     
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    Cleaning Up After the Storm

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Fran, this North Carolina builder gained experience in insurance work — and helped his community rebuild.

     
  • Shopping for Clad-Wood Casement Windows

    JLC staff take a close look at ten windows from national manufacturers.

     
  • Buying a Plunge Router

    Plunge routers offer greater versatility than fixed-base routers. Here we compare the power and precision of some of the best models on the market.

     
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    Choosing Engineered Beams

    For heavy loads and long spans, engineered beams are the way to go. In this article, we compare LVL, glulam, and Parallam, plus some new composite beams.

     
  • Favorite Low-Cost Marketing Techniques

    We survey builders and remodelers around the country for successful marketing ideas that don’t require big bucks.

     
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    Retrofitting A Whirlpool Tub

    A bathroom renovation specialist explains how to select and install a jetted tub in an existing bath.

     
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    Saving Trees During Construction

    Stripping trees from a lot before building may seem practical, but saving them can pay larger dividends. This article explains how to watch out for what you can’t see — the roots.

     

Letters

  • Letters

    Shoddy construction, vinyl trim detail, clad-window glass replacement, fuel cost comparisons, more

     
  • Letters

    Quality insulation, fire blocking, I-joist software, more

     
  • Letters

    Better marketing for energy savings, plywood standards, ICF foundations, more

     
  • Letters

    Insulation upgrades, shingles claim leaves no satisfaction, lumber grading, hidden deck fasteners, pullout step stools, drywall clips

     

News

  • Notebook

    Stachybotrys mold, contractor licensing, radiant heat claims, Business Tune-Up, more

     
  • Notebook

    Big builder exposés, mold on green fir, unvented fireplace controversy, Ryobi saw recall, more

     
  • Notebook

    Job-site waste, training older workers, results of JLC Internet use survey, more

     
  • Notebook

    Free safety training for small builders, mold and moisture bankrupt big builder, plastic lumber ages well, New York builders liable for fall-related injuries, self-cleaning windows, more

     

Q&A

  • Q&A: Restoring Solid Surfacing

    Q: What’s the best way to restore the shine on an older solid-surface sink that looks dull?

     
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    Q&A: Installing Wiring Between Ceiling Strapping

    Q: Here in New England, we usually attach 1x3 strapping to the ceiling joists before installing drywall. At most jobs, I see the electricians stapling the Romex cable to the bottom of the joists, parallel to the 1x3 strapping, so the wiring is about 1/2 i

     
  • Q&A: Is a Vapor Barrier Necessary?

    Q: Since we always carefully install housewrap on our buildings, paying attention to the details, is it necessary to install a poly vapor barrier under the drywall?

     
  • Q&A: Painting Aluminum Siding

    Q: Is it possible to paint aluminum siding?

     
  • Q&A: Building a Wine Room

    Q: Can you provide some advice on construction details for building a small wine storage room in a corner of a garage?

     
  • Q&A: ACQ-Treated Wood and Fastener Corrosion

    Q: Does ACQ-treated wood contribute to accelerated corrosion of galvanized fasteners?

     
  • Q&A: EPDM Over OSB

    Q: Does EPDM roofing always need to be installed over polyisocyanurate insulation, or can it be installed directly over OSB?

     
  • Q&A: Who’s Responsible for Hidden Conditions?

    Q: When we pulled off the siding and sheathing from the gable end of an existing house in preparation for an addition, we were surprised to find that the roof has a 4x12 structural ridge beam supporting common rafters. We had assumed that the roof was fra

     
  • Q&A: Copper Roofing Over SIPs

    Q: Can copper roofing be installed over SIP roof panels? I have heard that high temperatures under copper roofing might damage the SIPs.

     
  • Q&A: Spalling Concrete Floors

    Q: Here in Minnesota, many garage floors suffer from spalling. What causes spalling concrete, and is there any cure?

     
  • Q&A: Stripping Interior Paint From Carved Moldings

    Q: I need to remove several layers of interior paint from elaborate egg-and-dart moldings in a historic house. What is the most efficient way to proceed?

     
  • Q&A: Fall Protection Criteria

    Q: Your May 2001 article "Fall Protection Update" says that OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 requires fall protection for anyone working above 6 feet. Here in Washington state, I understand that the standard applies when there is a 10-foot fall potential. What a

     
  • Q&A: Venting a Porch Roof

    Q: I’m building a porch with a hip roof and a solid ceiling. Without soffit vents or roof vents will the roof get hot enough to shorten the life of the asphalt shingles? Are there any other reasons to vent a porch roof?

     
  • Q&A: Underlayment for Resilient Flooring

    Q: Should underlayment for resilient tile be installed perpendicular to the joists, like the subfloor, or parallel to the joists?

     
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    Q&A: Finishing Basement Walls

    Q: To finish an existing basement, I will be installing 2x4 walls around the perimeter. Should I install some type of waterproofing to the concrete walls? Can the 2x4 walls touch the concrete, or should I leave an air space?

     
  • Q&A: Weight Limits for Ladders

    Q: Do the listed weight limits for ladders and scaffold planks include a safety factor? If so, how much weight can be added beyond the listed weight until failure occurs?

     
  • Q&A: Wooden Shelf Around a Whirlpool Tub

    Q: I will be installing a whirlpool tub for a customer who wants me to surround the tub with a horizontal shelf of natural wood. The customer has rejected my suggestion to install tile. Is there any species of wood that would hold up in this environment?

     
  • Q&A: Right Size for an Insulating Air Space

    Q: How big does an air space need to be before it stops working as insulation and starts working as a convective loop?

     
  • Q&A: Cutting Solid Surfacing

    Q: What type of saw blade should I use to remove about an inch from a solid-surface countertop?

     
  • Q&A: Makeup Air for an Exhaust-Only Ventilation System

    Q: Q. I’m building a tight house with above-average attention to air sealing, and I plan to ventilate with a Panasonic exhaust fan running continuously. Will the cracks around windows and doors admit adequate makeup air, or do I need to provide wall vents

     
  • Q&A: Advantages to 240-Volt Lighting

    Q: I am planning to install new lighting in a warehouse. Are there any advantages, either in installation costs or in operating costs, to installing 240-volt lighting fixtures instead of 120-volt?

     
  • Q&A: Fuel Cost Comparison

    Q: A customer asked me how to compare the cost of different heating fuels (natural gas, propane, oil, and electricity). Can you provide a chart with this information?

     
  • Q&A: Rebar in Sonotubes

    Q: To support a beam for a residential deck, does a Sonotube pier need any rebar?

     
  • Q&A: Sealing Garage Floors

    Q: Is a concrete sealer effective at protecting a garage floor from road salt damage? If so, what is the best product to use — a floor paint or a clear waterproofing sealer?

     
  • Q&A: Bending Metal Roofing to a Curve

    Q: Can regular sheets of metal panel roofing be installed on a curved roof with a radius of 28 feet?

     
  • Q&A: Preventing Storm Water Backup

    Q: The municipal storm drainage system in our city shares pipes with the sewer system. During heavy rainstorms, water backs up from the municipal drain line into a customer’s basement floor drain. Is there any type of check valve that can be installed in

     
  • Q&A: Installing New Stucco Over Old

    Q: The owner of a house with existing exterior cement stucco is unhappy with the finish. How difficult is it to install a new coat of stucco over the existing stucco?

     
  • Q&A: Vinyl Trim for Bay Windows

    Q: What is the best vinyl trim detail to use on the wide angles of bay windows? The house in question does not have enough room at the corners to use a vinyl outside corner piece, which would be too wide. Is it acceptable to use a piece of inside corner t

     
  • Q&A: EPDM vs. Modified Bitumen Roofing

    Q: Why is EPDM roofing so much more expensive than torch-applied modified bitumen? Is EPDM roofing that much better?

     
  • Q&A: Crawlspace Insulation

    Q: I am building an addition over a 30-inch-high crawlspace. The local inspector has approved my plan to build a sealed crawlspace without ventilation. Should I install rigid foam insulation on the interior of the block walls, or should I insulate between

     
  • Q&A: Fastening Studs With Screws

    Q: On a remodel job, I used screws to fasten studs and blocking in a non-bearing partition. An inspector told me that only nails, not screws, could be used in this application. Is this correct?

     
  • Q&A: Costing and Tracking Software

    Q: What’s the best accounting software for job costing and tracking for a remodeling company?

     
  • Q&A: Installing Smoke Detectors

    Q: There are no code requirements for smoke detectors in my area. What is the best type of smoke detector to buy, and where should they be located?

     
  • Q&A: Clipped-Head vs. Full-Head Nails

    Q: What are the pros and cons of clipped-head versus full-head nails? Are there any framing nailers that drive both kinds?

     
  • Q&A: Ventilating a Rain Screen

    Q: I plan to install clapboard siding using the rain screen method. The siding will be fastened to 3/4-inch vertical battens, nailed over each stud. At the top, I plan to ventilate the rain screen into the soffit area. What is the best detail to ventilate

     
  • Q&A: Blotchy Shingles

    Q: The shady part of a customer’s roof is stained with round, pea-green growths on the asphalt shingles. The round spots are of various sizes, and they are not fuzzy like moss. A bleach solution does not remove these growths. What are they, and how can I

     
  • Q&A: Circuit Breaker Problems

    Q: In a residential remodel, we replaced the electrical service panel. Within five days, two of the 15-amp breakers tripped and could not be reset. The breakers were determined to be "defective" and had to be replaced. What could be causing this problem?

     
  • Q&A: Carpet Over Ceramic Tile

    Q: We are converting a restaurant kitchen into an office and need to install carpet over existing 6x6-inch ceramic tiles with 1/4-inch grout lines. The floor dips 3/4 inch near the floor drain. What product can we use to level this floor in preparation fo

     
  • Q&A: Deteriorated Duct Board

    Q: We are renovating a 1980 home. The hvac sub says that since older fiberglass duct board disintegrates from the inside out, all of the ducts should be replaced. Could this be true?

     
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    Q&A: Framing With L-Corners

    Q: The local framing inspector told us that our L-corners are not acceptable. He says that an L-corner is not as strong as a corner framed with two studs separated by blocking. Is he right?

     
  • Q&A: Asphalt Shingles on Unvented Roofs

    Q: Our insulation subcontractor advises us to install dense-pack cellulose in the rafter bays over a cathedral ceiling, without ventilation baffles, and the local building inspector approves. If we don’t ventilate under the roof sheathing, what happens to

     
  • Q&A: Turning Cedar Shingles Gray

    Q: What’s the best way to treat new white cedar shingles to give them a gray, weathered look?

     
  • Q&A: Staining New Boards to Look Old

    Q: We are building an addition on a 25-year-old house. The house has cathedral ceilings with exposed unfinished pine board roof sheathing, and the walls are paneled with unfinished pine boards. The pine boards have darkened with age, and the homeowners wa

     
  • Q&A: Leaving Rigid Foam Exposed in Crawlspace

    Q: I plan to install rigid foam insulation in a crawlspace. As far as I know, most types of rigid foam insulation can’t be left exposed but need to be covered with a layer of drywall for fire resistance. Is there a type of rigid foam insulation panel avai

     
  • Q&A: Rx for Freezing Downspout

    Q: A customer has a building with a nearly flat roof surrounded by a parapet. The roof drains to a single scupper, which conducts the water to a downspout. Ice builds up regularly in the downspout, and the water backs up and spills down the wall. What’s t

     
  • Q&A: Thin Radiant Slab

    Q: I want to install a thin radiant slab over a wood subfloor in a remodel. The flooring will be ceramic tile. What is the thinnest slab I can get away with?

     

Design

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Reviews

  • Resources

    Hydronic heating guide, basic engineering text, more

     

Kitchen & Bath

Products

  • Products

    Plastic trimboards, orbit sander, miter saw stand, thermostatic by-pass valve, universal socket, vinyl flooring, more

     
  • Products

    Fold-up pliers, plastic lumber adhesive, arch-top casement windows, site design software, mold-free air conditioning, wax-free toilet gasket, zoned forced-air floor register

     
  • Products

    Rebar chairs, laminated glass, high-performance paint stripper, spaceage carpenter pen, mini skid steer loader, more

     
  • Products

    Ergonomic file handle, LED flashlight, super ceiling fan, more

     

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