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Features

Letters

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    Letters

    Attic temperatures and asphalt shingles; cynicism vs. basic economics; when employees compete

     

In the News

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    In the News

    Small builders join forces; California bill slashes lead in plumbing; more

     

Q&A

  • Is Veneer Plaster Compatible With Drywall?

    Q: Can you skim-coat plaster over regular drywall? If not, is there a way to prep standard drywall so that a veneer plaster finish can be applied over it?

     
  • Green Alternatives to Traditional Building Materials

    Q: I live in northern coastal California, in the heart of the redwoods. We're currently remodeling a simple structure (in a highly visible town-square location) into an elaborately detailed storefront, in keeping with the surrounding 1880s architecture. While all the vintage storefronts (and their...

     
  • Offsetting Bearing Walls

    Q: There's a framing rule of thumb I've used for years that says it's okay to offset a second-story bearing wall from the first-story bearing wall below, as long as you don't offset it by more than the depth of the joist. We use this rule for standard dimensional lumber, but would it also apply to...

     

On the Job

Business

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    No More Bids: Switching to Negotiated Contracts

    I used to run my business the way most contractors do: I'd visit potential clients, review the plans their architects had drawn, agree to bid against a group of other contractors, and then spend 10 to 100 hours estimating the work.

     

Legal

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    Managing Material Costs With an Escalation Clause

    The other night, my husband and I watched a television show about contractors in California who are walking away from unfinished houses. But few contractors will walk away from an unfinished job voluntarily. That's definitely not part of their business plan. So why would it happen?

     

Kitchen & Bath

Products

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    Products

    Deck treatments; brick pavers & patio stones; storm doors & windows

     

Toolbox

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    Toolbox

    Worx recip saw; Bosch PS10 I-Driver; vinyl siding; fiber cement

     

Backfill

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    Straw-Bale Vault

    It's not every day that a world-famous artist asks you to design and build a retreat honoring the work of Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy — in highly seismic Joshua Tree, Calif., to boot.