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Features

Letters

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    Letters

    Code approval for screw piers; quick tune-ups for tight miters; cross-bracing decks

     

Q&A

  • Adding a Point Load to a Post-Tensioned Foundation

    Q: When making structural changes that involve adding a point load to a house built on a post-tensioned concrete slab, is it necessary to add a footing for a structural post? I'm concerned that cutting through the slab to pour a pad footing could sever on

     
  • Are Mountain-Climbing Harnesses Okay On Site?

    Q: I'm a long-time rock climber and carpenter, and I've been using climbing harnesses for job-site fall protection for many years. These kinds of harnesses are designed to protect the wearer in the event of a severe fall, and I've had a lot of practice us

     
  • When to Use a Heat-Pump Water Heater

    Q: A customer wants me to install one of the new heat-pump water heaters in the ground-floor utility room of a house built on a slab. I don't have any direct experience with them, but since they work by drawing heat from the surrounding air, won't any energy savings in the winter be at least partly...

     

On the Job

  • Frost Protection for an Existing Foundation

    I recently did a remodeling project that involved replacing a three-season sunroom with fully conditioned living space.

     
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    Quick Folding Chop-Saw Stand

    I hate it when I go to a job site and see some carpenter trying to cut a long molding while his $800 miter saw is balanced on a piece of drywall set on a plastic trash can.

     

Business

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    Using Save-and-Sync for Backup and More

    Online backup systems like Carbonite and MozyPro do a great job of protecting your data from a catastrophic loss, but that's about all they're good for.

     

Products

  • Hard Rock

    Compared with standard drywall, ToughRock Gypsum Board is less likely to crack, sag, or absorb moisture, the maker says.

     
  • Roof Saver

    Surround SR Underlayment is a waterproof synthetic polymer that’s 40 percent lighter than 30-pound roofing felt — as well as more durable and slip-resistant and less prone to tearing, says the maker.

     
  • Durable Doors

    Nantucket Collection solid wood exterior doors are built to withstand whatever nature throws at them, says the manufacturer.

     
  • Water Break

    The Delta Footing Barrier is a three-ply impermeable membrane that goes on top of freshly poured footings before the foundation is built.

     
  • Sump Switch

    LevelGuard is a submersible electronic sump pump switch designed to replace a mechanical float.

     
  • Filter and Softener

    The Kenmore Elite Hybrid Water Softener does more than soften water and prevent scale buildup in fixtures and appliances.

     
  • One-Piece Fan

    The company best-known for making silent remote-mounted ventilation products now offers a lineup of conventional bath fans.

     
  • Simplified Rough-In

    The new GrohFlex universal valve system uses a one-size-fits-all rough-in box to serve a wide variety of tub and shower fixtures.

     
  • Products

     
  • Light and Stiff

    Easi-Lite gypsum board weighs up to 30 percent less than standard gypsum board and has a high-strength core that allows it to span 24-inch on-center ceiling joists without sagging, says CertainTeed.

     
  • High-Class Mud

    -777 Premier All Purpose Ready Mix Joint Compound may not be a household name, but its maker says it contains less air than better-known products and yields more working time with less tool drag.

     
  • New Double-Hungs

    Hurd has added a double-hung unit to its line of H3 windows.

     

Toolbits

  • Double-Duty Stapler

    Arrow’s new T50elite is a manual tacker that fires 1-inch brads as well as 9/16-inch staples.

     
  • Ergonomic Jigsaw

    The M12 Cordless High Performance Jigsaw is one of the newest entries in Milwaukee’s M12 lithium-ion line, which now contains more than 30 tools.

     
  • Miter Finder

    Don’t let its Rube Goldbergian appearance fool you: The Bora Angle Master is basically a T-bevel that determines both angle and miter settings.

     
  • Big Air

    Jenny Products recently introduced four skid-mounted air compressors — two single-stage and two double-stage.

     

Backfill

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    The Music of the Spheres

    Spherical buildings present some obvious practical challenges. But because a sphere provides the largest possible interior volume per unit of surface area, the form has long fascinated designers and architects, and quite a few reasonably successful spherical structures have actually been built.