July 1997 Table of Contents

Detail: A Hidden Newel Post

The architect specced a switchback stair rail with no newel post at the landing — a visually pleasing but structurally weak design. Here’s how the builder provided support without changing the designer’s intent. Read more

Farewell to Competitive Bidding Farewell to Competitive Bidding

This remodeler improved his company’s performance — and service to clients — by dropping out of the bidding rat race. Here’s how and why he did it. Read more

Fast Precast Foundations Fast Precast Foundations

A Superior Wall foundation has as much strength as a poured foundation, plus it’s insulated, requires no footings, and can install in less than a day. If there’s a manufacturing plant in your area, this is a system worth looking at. Read more

Building With Foam-Core Panels

With structural insulated panels, you get framing, sheathing, insulation, and air barrier all in one neat package. A 15-year foam-panel user explains how to build houses with SIPs, and how the technique compares with stick framing. Read more

Vent-Free Gas Heaters - How Safe? Vent-Free Gas Heaters - How Safe?

Unvented gas fireplaces and heaters are the latest craze at hearth product retail stores. But before you install one for a client, you'd better consider the liability. Read more


Implied warranties, utility defends energy program Read more


“Orphaned” gas water heaters ruin masonry chimneys, commercial steel framing method goes residential, ancient warnings about shoddy construction ring true today Read more

Q&A: Treated Lumber’s Moisture Content

Q: What is the moisture content of treated lumber? The treated lumber I use seems very wet, but it carries a grading stamp that lists the moisture content at 19%. Read more

Q&A: Finding Buried Outlets Q&A: Finding Buried Outlets

Q: What’s the best way to locate an electrical box that was covered over when the drywall was installed? Read more

Q&A: UV Blockers for Clear Finishes

Q: Most species of trim that we install become darker as they age. I’ve read that this darkening is caused by exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight. Occasionally, a customer will complain about this darkening. Is there a clear finish available that will block this UV action? Read more

By Design: Building a Better Deck

Principles of deck design Read more

Strictly Business: Tracking Material Costs

Keeping track of material costs Read more

Resources: Legal Guides for Independent Contractors

Legal guides explore subcontractor status Read more

Kitchen & Bath
New-Tech Tools and Materials

A survey of new tools, products, and materials that can increase productivity and profit on your next job. Read more

Toolbox: Tool Tips for Metal Stud Work

Tools for framing with steel Read more

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