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  • Letters

    Unvented attics meet code; mystery setup; the joy of SIPs; safety-story feedback; more



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    In the News

    Insurer wins Katrina case; Rhode Island toughens registration rules; Wisconsin limits impact fees; building costs rise; more



  • Paint Over Stain?

    Q. Paint Over Stain? Is it okay to use an exterior latex house paint over stained wood siding?

  • Insulating a Block Wall

    Q. I'm renovating an uninsulated cape built with concrete-block walls. The plans call for gutting and reframing the interior and installing shingle siding on the exterior. Because the building needs to be insulated to comply with local (Long Island, N.Y.) code, I was considering adding a layer of...

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    Do Fiber-Cement Butt Joints Have to Be Caulked?

    Q: The clients on an upcoming project are interested in installing fiber-cement siding, but they're concerned about how the butt joints will look. While they don't expect the tight-fitting seams characteristic of wooden clapboards, they also don't like the look of wide caulked joints. Is there a...


On the Job

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    Framing an Elliptical Staircase

    Recently, my friend Nick Ridge and I took on a job in Northern California that had an interesting challenge — an elliptical staircase with a self-supporting inside stringer.



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    Pricing Handyman Work

    It may surprise you to find out that you're not in business to exercise your skill as a craftsman, to get a sense of pride from a job well-done, or to enjoy a sense of freedom by being your own boss. As good as those benefits are, they're by-products, not the purpose itself.



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    Protect Your Assets

    Whenever I speak somewhere, I preach about the importance of separating your personal assets from your company's assets. The best way to do this is by incorporating your business as a corporation or an LLC.



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    Surface protection; mold fighters; accessibility; efficient lighting



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    Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver; Pipe Shredder; plumbing tools; job-site security



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    Men of Oak

    Most small businesses don't stick around for 50 years, so when Williams Hardwood Flooring made it to that important milestone, company president Jim Leslie decided to do something special: He commissioned chain-saw carver Michael Blaine of Winchester, N.H., to make a life-size sculpture of two...