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  • Accounting Habits of Successful Contractors

    A CPA explains how to organize your monthly schedule so that you’re always keeping an eye on job costs — and turning a profit.

  • A Stone Veneer Foundation

    A durable job depends on using the right mortar, anchoring the stone to the concrete, and providing weep holes for water that penetrates the veneer.

  • Connecting to the Future

    Home wiring no longer means just phone and electric. From simple lighting controllers to whole-house integrated systems for data, security, and entertainment, the residential automation market is exploding with options.

  • Cordless Tool Kits

    In this hands-on review, our tool tester takes a close look at five cordless kits that contain the essentials — a circular saw, a recip saw, and a drill.

  • Sizing Domestic Water Pipes

    A master plumber provides a step-by-step method for sizing water supply pipes, based on code and common sense.



  • Letters

    Gross margins, SIPs in Juneau, locating a tubing cutter, avoiding mold, more



  • Notebook

    “Visitability” regulations, aging baby boomers, hazardous suburbs, contractors defeat the IRS, an energy-efficient steel wall, more



  • Q&A: Grout or Caulk?

    Q. When installing a mortar-bed shower floor, should the gap between the drain and the adjacent tiles be finished with grout or with caulk?

  • Q&A: Condensation on Windows

    Q. A customer with insulated-glass windows has a problem with excessive condensation on the interior of the windows. Can you please list the most important causes of high humidity in a home? A. Energy and sustainable

  • Q&A: Vinyl Siding Over Foil-Faced Rigid Foam

    Q. Can vinyl siding be installed directly over foil-faced rigid foam?

  • Q&A: Overhanging Brick Veneer

    Q. It’s not unusual for a foundation to be slightly out of square. If the house has brick veneer siding, it’s sometimes necessary for the first course of bricks to overhang the concrete foundation. What is the maximum safe overhang in such a situation?

  • Q&A: Compressing Fiberglass Batts

    Q. I’ve heard that if you use 5 1/2-inch-thick fiberglass batts in a 2x4 wall, the insulation will have a higher R-value than standard 3 1/2-inch batts provide. But some people say that compressing fiberglass batts lowers the R-value. What’s the story?

  • Q&A: Solid Surfacing for Flooring

    Q. Can solid surfacing be used for flooring in a bathroom?

  • Image

    Q&A: Mounting Downspouts on EIFS

    Q. What is the best way to attach gutter downspouts to a house with EIFS?





Trade Talk

Kitchen & Bath


  • Products

    Compact excavators, hole saws with stamina, an easy-open utility knife, acrylic block windows, a drywall suspension system for domes, high-capacity toolbags, PVC railings, more



Tools of the Trade