Vapor Retarders in North
In the May Q&A, a reader from North Carolina questions
whether a polyethylene vapor retarder is required on the
interior side of an insulated wall. The North Carolina 2006
Residential Building Code, Section R318.1, requires moisture
vapor retarders in only five of the state’s 100
counties: Alleghany, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey.
These five counties are in climate zone 2 — mountain
elevations that are prone to colder temperatures.
Chairman, N.C. Building Code Council
Cost of Custom Work
I appreciated Gary Katz’s article on the curved
coffered ceiling (3/08) and would like a little more background
about the job. How large was the ceiling? How many man-hours
did the project require, and what was the material cost? What
would be the cost to the client of a project like that? Also,
was that beautiful resulting finish stained or painted to look
Home & Hearth Remodeling and Restoration
West Springfield, Mass.
Author Gary Katz responds: While
it’s not fair to compare actual labor prices from one
part of the country to another, man-hours and a material
estimate should give a good clue as to what the project would
cost in your region. The room was about 14 by 20 feet, which
means a flat ceiling would have been about 280 square feet,
while the barrel area was a little over 300 square feet.
I’ve never actually found a square-footage formula
that works for coffered ceilings, even flat ones. Every one is
different — the number and size of the beams, the size
of the crown, the wood species and finish, and so on —
so I bid every one by the room, using cost data from previous
jobs as a starting point. In this case, three carpenters spent
one-and-a-half weeks installing the trim. The material cost was
approximately $6,000. All of the curved crown was flexible
trim. The painter who follows behind us is an artist at
“staining” resin-based trim to match wood. We
don’t ever include painting in our prices, so I
can’t tell you the cost — though I know
he’s not cheap!
Is Hiring Illegals Like
“solution” to the problem of undocumented
workers (Letters, 5/08) is ludicrous. According to Mr. Ryan,
so-called honest businesspersons should be allowed to continue
with illegal business practices as long as they tell the proper
governing authority about it. That would be like allowing a
thief to keep stealing as long as he tells the police, who
would let him to keep stealing until they found a solution to
the problem of theft.
Mr. Ryan also implies that Arizona and Tennessee are putting
American companies out of business. After witnessing the
struggles of honest businesses competing in a deceitful and
profit-mad construction marketplace, I believe Arizona and
Tennessee are putting the right “American”
companies out of business.
Ryan should run for president; his letter (5/08) is dead on.
Why our government has not implemented something along these
lines I have no idea. He is also correct in his
characterization of the struggles of small businesses. Here in
Massachusetts we hire immigrant workers, and without them all
of us would be having a hard time. These people want to work,
but they also want to return home some day. Steve’s
idea — bringing them aboveboard with a special Social
Security number — is perfect. Good job, Steve. You get