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Features

  • Tool Test: Tool-Activated Vacuums

    A combination of to-do lists, paper calendars, and a computer contact manager keeps multiple jobs on track.

     
  • 1204hu-lead

    Basic Scheduling for Increased Efficiency

    A combination of to-do lists, paper calendars, and a computer contact manager keeps multiple jobs on track.

     
  • 1204ca-01

    New Life for Old Kitchen Cabinets

    A kitchen remodeler tells how he determines if cabinet refacing is a viable option, and how to ensure professional results.

     
  • 1204mc_01

    Manufactured-Stone Nightmares

    A remediation contractor explains how improperly installed synthetic-stone veneer can cause severe rot damage in the wood framing underneath.

     
  • 1204ka_01

    Stair-Building Tools

    Manufacturers have developed specialized tools for laying out, cutting, drilling, and installing stair parts. Here's a close look at how they work on site.

     
  • 1104ho_pro

    QuickBooks Pro vs. Contractor: Which Is Better?

    The answer, says a Maine business-systems consultant, depends on whether you like packaged reports or prefer to customize the program to match the way you do business.

     
  • 1104we-01

    Building a Strong Cathedral Hip Roof

    A Massachusetts builder explains how he built a structurally sound vaulted hip ceiling without collar ties.

     
  • 1104st-03b

    Installing Stone Counters

    Stone counters require meticulously planned cabinetry and sturdy support. A stone contractor tells what you need to know.

     
  • 1104de-lead

    Building a Reinforced Concrete Block Wall

    A mason describes how he detailed a pair of large block walls to carry severe lateral loads.

     
  • Tool Test: Sidewinder Circ Saws

    A longtime custom framer evaluates eight 7 1/4-inch saws and chooses his favorites.

     
  • 1004br-01

    Building a Custom Saw Station

    This sturdy, portable chop-saw stand speeds finish carpentry while getting rid of the dust.

     
  • 1004th-03a

    Making Old Stucco Look New

    A Northern California stucco contractor describes how he uses foam-based trim and pigmented finish coats to revitalize tired stucco exteriors.

     
  • 0904sh-06

    Rescuing a Block Foundation

    Two foundation remediation specialists show how they use an engineered system of pin piles and wall ties to give new life to a failing foundation.

     
  • 1004ak-02a

    Air Conditioning for Humid Climates

    Balancing cooling with humidity control is a tough job in the coastal South. A North Carolina hvac pro explains how the latest generation of cooling equipment meets the challenge.

     
  • 1004wa-10

    Hurricane-Rated Windows

    Storm-resistant windows are now required by code all along the eastern seaboard. Here's an overview of how these beefed-up units work to keep storm pressures out of the structure.

     
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    Gang-Cutting Rafters

    Designing dormers that fit

     
  • 0904ha-28

    Heavy Lifting: A Housemover's Journal

    A Massachusetts building mover details the process of lifting a 1772 post-and-beam house completely intact, transporting it over land and water, and setting it to rest at its new home.

     
  • 0904br-08

    Installing an Electric-Radiant Tile Floor

    Electric-resistance tile-warming systems can increase comfort in the kitchen and bath without greatly increasing the client's electric bill. A tilesetter shares his method for a foolproof installation.

     
  • Lead-Safe Remodeling

    The dangers of lead exposure are well documented, so it makes sense to take precautions when disturbing old paint. A restoration carpenter discusses legal liability and shares practical measures for minimizing the risk.

     
  • 0904fr-DW735

    Tool Test: Portable Thickness Planers

    We compare seven popular thickness planers for cutting capacity, power, quality of cut, portability, and noise output. Here's how they stack up.

     
  • 0704mr-01

    Building a Timber Barn

    For customers who want the look of a timber-frame outbuilding without the cost, this Massachussetts builder has developed a straightforward approach to stick framing with heavy timbers.

     
  • 0704ra-09

    Cast-In-Place Concrete Counters

    Forming concrete counters on-site requires careful preparation and perfect timing. A third-generation concrete contractor shares his secrets for getting the job done right.

     
  • 0804pa-01

    Fitting Up a Custom Saw Trailer

    Nothing like rolling the shop to the job to slash setup time. A GC tells how he built a custom saw trailer with a 14-inch radial arm saw, a large-capacity air compressor, and tons of storage space.

     
  • Fixing a Wet Crawlspace

    A crawlspace expert describes how he turned a damp bug- and mold-infested crawlspace into a clean, dry, sealed environment.

     
  • 0804rs-02

    Tool Test: Stacked-Tank Compressors

    Air compressors vary in terms of portability, noise output, recovery time, and ease-of-use. We sent ten twin stacked-tank models out in the field to find out which ones deliver; here's our report.

     
  • 0804ct-08

    Time-Saving Tools For Framers and Finish Carpenters

    Trying to speed production and increase accuracy on the job? These tools deserve a look.

     
  • 0704gr-04

    Weatherstripping Existing Windows

    A California remodeler tells how he retrofits weatherstripping on existing wood windows for sound and thermal insulation.

     
  • 0704in-06

    Innovative Products for Builders & Remodelers

    JLC's annual pick of products designed to help you work faster, better, and smarter.

     
  • 0504La-01

    Pouring a Structural Slab

    An East Coast builder describes the process of forming and pouring a structural garage slab using polystyrene deck forms.

     
  • 0704ca-01

    Preventing Chimney Cap Failure

    Chimney caps are too often poorly detailed and are the first part of the chimney to degrade. A mason explains how to build a durable cap.

     

Letters

  • Letters

    Immigrant labor; sealed crawlspace follow-up; a remodeler risk; more

     
  • 1104le-02

    Letters

    How to double compressed air output; key notes; compressor specs; long spans and tile

     
  • 0904le-04

    Letters

    Fee impact in California; where to find adjustable wall braces; decimal pitch conversion; hidden soffit vent details; more

     
  • Letters

    Copper compatibility with ACQ; painting stucco; Hispanic labor; arch formula; tile showers; more

     
  • Letters

    Protecting deck ledger with membrane; house trap follow up; Spanish language resources; in praise of change orders; more

     
  • Letters

    Deck ledger connections, gutters in cold climates, Porter-Cable 100 router, more

     

News

  • 1204ne-04

    In The News

    Supreme Court to hear eminent domain case; another deck collapse; guarded optimism about prices; a "pay when paid" contract is challenged in Massachusetts; more

     
  • Image

    In the News

    Fannie Mae under fire; an innovative structural system weathers Hurricane Charley; workers' comp crisis in Texas; new nailing requirement in Florida

     
  • 1004ne-05

    In the News

    Lessons from Hurricane Charley; stray voltage zaps homeowners; building code comes to Pennsylvania; NAFTA panel slams U.S. on tariffs

     
  • 0904ne-02

    In the News

    Another deck collapse; problems with painting stucco; translucent concrete; more

     
  • 0804nw-01eps

    In the News

    Disaster narrowly averted in deck collapse; lumber price outlook; condo franchise reaps profits for custom builder; Colorado construction liability reform faces voter threat; more

     
  • 0704ne-10

    In the News

    Cement shortage, creating a wetland, health concern about old plaster, workers comp reform in California, lightning- resistant flexible gas line

     

Q&A

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    Weep Holes in Brick Veneer

    Are weep holes in a typical wood-frame brick-veneer home required anywhere other than at the bottom? What about over and under windows?

     
  • Securing Dishwashers To Stone Counters

    I've been unsuccessful in finding a permanent method of securing dishwashers to the underside of stone countertops. I've tried using construction adhesive and epoxy to secure the small metal tabs, but with no long-term success. One countertop installer sa

     
  • Compacting Stump Holes

    I'm about to pour a slab on a site where several stumps were removed, leaving 2- and 3-foot-deep holes about 4 feet across. The backhoe operator went ahead and filled in the holes with dirt from the site (sandy loam, pretty good stuff), drove over them a

     
  • 1104QA51

    Causes of Attic Mold

    Q. I've been a builder for more than 20 years and have come across my first serious mold problem ? in my own home in Maine. The house was for sale and under contract pending a building inspection. The inspection revealed mold growth on one entire underside of the roof sheathing (the other side was...

     
  • Why Paper a Roof?

    Q.What is the purpose of tar-papering a roof other than to keep water out until the shingles are laid down? It seems that if water does get past the shingles that the tar paper, having all of those staple and nail holes, would do little to keep the water out.

     
  • 1004QA51

    Can You Rip LVL?

    Q. The building codes don't allow you to rip graded lumber to a narrower width (to make a 2x6 and a 2x4 out of a 2x10, for example). But what about ripping LVL?

     
  • Insulating Basement Walls

    Q. I'm doing a basement remodel and am thinking of finishing the block foundation walls by painting the masonry with Drylok, then adhering 4-mil poly over that. Next, I plan to fur the walls with Z-studs, put 2 inches of foil-faced polyiso board between t

     
  • Mice and Insulation

    Q. Is there any way to can keep mice out of insulation? I am working on a remote cabin in southern Illinois, and the mice seem to come and go at will. I'm getting ready to insulate another room and I don't want to provide new places for the rodents to nes

     
  • 0904qa-02

    Bamboo Floor Not as Hard as Claimed?

    Lightweight pneumatic hose; paint for fiber cement; wet-dry central vac; landscaping products; metal stairs; fire prevention products

     
  • Housewrap & Building Code

    Q. I have read conflicting reports about the use of housewrap. Does the building code actually require the use of housewrap under siding?

     
  • Radon Resources

    Q.Where can I obtain information about radon gas, its effects, and what products will prevent emissions from coming up through slab foundations?

     
  • Ice Dams in Valleys

    Q. I need to fix a problem with ice dams in a new house. The ice dams form in two valleys over a cathedral ceiling and are causing leaks. The roof is standing-seam metal, and there is not enough venting in the valley area. Is there a solution short of tea

     
  • Q&A: Various Cost-Effectiveness of Solar Equipment

    Q. How cost-effective are solar panels?

     
  • 0804KB51

    Q&A: Setting Ceramic Tile Over Long-Span Steel Joists

    Q. The plans for a new house call for saltillo tile over a 3/4-inch plywood subfloor with 1/2-inch concrete backerboard (Durock) thinset and screwed to the plywood. The floor joists are Dietrich Trade Ready Floor System 12-gauge steel joists at 16 inches

     
  • 0704QA51

    Reducing Clearance to Woodstove Pipe

    Q. Can I use type X "fire code" gypsum board to reduce clearances to combustibles for a woodstove pipe? For example, could I attach a layer or two of gypsum board to the side or bottom of a nearby cabinet to reduce the required 18-inch clearance?

     
  • 0704QA52

    Various Forming a Brick Shelf in a Concrete Foundation

    Q. I'm planning to form a simple 4-foot stem wall foundation for a single-story garage using plywood, snap ties, and walers. It needs to have a brick ledge for the top 10 to 12 inches, which will show above grade. What's a simple, effective way to do this

     
  • Buildup in Shower Drains

    Q. Recently I've run into a couple of incidents where a crystallized white substance has formed on the shower floor and in the drain. In both cases the showers have mud-set floors and are entirely tiled. The water is from a public source. In one case, the

     

Design

  • Image

    Dormers by Design

    Some of the most appealing interior spaces are those created under a roof that has been sensitively fitted with dormers. Nestled at treetop level, these spaces are formed by the sloped, sheltering surfaces of the primary roof and the walls of the dormers, which admit daylight.

     
  • 0704BD51

    Locating a Fireplace in a Family Room with a TV

    Locating a fireplace in a family room with a TV

     

Business

  • 1204bu-01

    Finding Your Niche

    There's an old saying that you can't be all things to all people. Yet how many times have you seen ads for contractors that include the words "specializing in" and then go on to list every conceivable service from additions to professional dog-walking?

     
  • 1104bu-03

    Business: Effective Low-Tech Scheduling

    Effective low-tech scheduling

     
  • Business

    Accrual vs. cash accounting; finding the best remodeling customers

     
  • 0904bu-04

    Business

    Moving the schedule from paper to the computer; taking credit cards; protecting against plywood and lumber price spikes

     
  • Determining Labor Productivity Rates

    I recently asked the participants in jlconline's Estimating and Takeoff forum what part of the estimating process was most difficult for them. The nearly unanimous answer was "estimating labor costs."

     
  • 0704bu-04

    Business

    Managing cash flow, deciding to be competitive, employee benefits

     

Legal

  • How Bidding Errors Affect the Contract

    I just had to explain the doctrine of "mutual mistake" to a small bidder on a local construction project. It was painful for both of us: painful for me because I didn't like telling him he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, and painful for him because he was stuck.How bidding errors affect...

     
  • 1104le-01

    Protect What's Yours -- Incorporate

    A lot of small construction companies are incorporated. There are so many advantages to being incorporated, it surprises me everybody doesn't do it.

     
  • What Happens When You Go to Arbitration?

    The ins and outs of arbitration

     
  • 0904LE51

    When You Have To Terminate a Contract

    A short time ago I got a call from a builder with whom I've worked for many years. He usually seeks legal advice before jumping into something new, but this time he was a bit slow to check in. The builder had terminated a homeowner's renovation contract before the work was complete and was being...

     
  • How Long Should You Keep Business Records?

    What should you do with all those old business records that you store in file cabinets, boxes, and stacks in the corner? Do you have to keep them forever?

     
  • Why Subs Must Carry Liability Insurance

    As the general contractor, you have liability insurance to protect you from claims for bodily injury or property damage caused by your negligence. So why, you ask, is it important for your subs to have liability insurance, too?

     

Computers

Engineering

  • 1004Re51

    Practical Engineering: Resisting Tornado Damage

    This APA storm report shows that structural sheathing, metal connectors, and strong garage walls can increase the likelihood that a home will survive all but the most powerful storms.

     

Resources

Kitchen & Bath

Products

  • 1204-pr_01

    Products

    Satellite-dish mounting platform; maintenance-free door frame; windows; heating products; historic restoration

     
  • 1104pr-06

    Products

    Holiday gift ideas; foundation waterproofing; pools & spas; mud management

     
  • 1004pr-01a

    Products

    Protective glass coating; blueprint protector; glues and adhesives; basement finishing products

     
  • 0904pr-19

    Products

    Lightweight pneumatic hose; paint for fiber cement; wet-dry central vac; landscaping products; metal stairs; fire prevention products

     
  • 0804PR-13

    Products

    AC products; interior doors; TrussLock screws

     
  • 0704pr-01

    Products

    Domestic water; home automation; manufactured fireplaces

     

Toolbox

  • 1204tb-08

    Toolbox

    Tile tools; toolbelts and bags; job-site radio review

     
  • 1104tb-03

    Toolbox

    Collated screwdrivers; flooring tools; DeWalt 433 belt sander

     
  • 1004tb-07

    Toolbox

    Senco brad-nailer value pack; Hilti PD30 laser measuring device; drywall tools; plumbing tools

     
  • 0904tb-01

    Toolbox

    Panasonic 18-volt kit; Porter-Cable compressor on wheels; Milwaukee 14.4-volt cordless drill; powder-actuated tools; vinyl siding tools

     
  • 0804tb-21

    Toolbox

    Bosch 1590 EVS jigsaw; Porter-Cable 324 MAG circular saw; specialty nailers, concrete tools

     
  • 0704tb-09

    Toolbox

    Hilti reciprocating saws; safer pump jacks; turbo sander; theft prevention

     

Backfill