February 1998 Table of Contents

Adding On Above the Garage

A West Coast builder tells how he used structural steel and engineered lumber to strengthen a two-bay garage beneath a master bedroom addition. Read more

A Practical Approach to Construction Computing

Four computer-savvy contractors explain how they use off-the-shelf software to integrate and streamline their business procedures. Read more

Installing Laminate Floors

Plastic laminate, with its choices of colors and patterns, has moved from countertops to floors. We follow a professional flooring contractor as he shows how to lay a flat, durable finish floor with this versatile material. Read more

Plumbing Pitfalls For Bathroom Remodels Plumbing Pitfalls For Bathroom Remodels

From corroded pipes and antique fixtures to limited access and impossible working conditions, bath remodels in older homes present a variety of budget-busting obstacles. Here’s a checklist of the most common problem areas. Read more

Selecting Replacement Windows

With prehung replacement units or sash-only kits, it’s possible to upgrade a window in less than an hour with-out removing the trim. We take a look at what’s available from national manufacturers. Read more


Crawlspace moisture solutions, advan-tages of steel framing Read more


Contractor develops college construction technology program, new asbestos study confirms health hazards Read more

Q&A: Receptacles on Ungrounded Electrical Circuits

Q: My questions have to do with existing ungrounded circuits in older homes. My understanding is that you should always replace worn-out two-slot receptacles with new two-slot receptacles (although they’re not always easy to find). However, I’ve also been told that in some locales you can install a three-prong receptacle in an ungrounded circuit as long as you fill the ground slot with epoxy. This is presumably to prevent someone from using a grounded appliance on the ungrounded circuit. What’s the code requirement, and what about this epoxy business? Read more

Q&A: Strength of Concrete Mix

Q: Many years ago, a concrete contractor gave me a recipe for mixing concrete by hand or machine. It is the only mix I have ever used. Is there any way to know how strong the mix is? I use 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts clean sand, and 3 parts clean crushed stone (7/16 inch or 3/4 inch, depending on the job). Read more

Q&A: Life Expectancy of Galvanized Fasteners Q&A: Life Expectancy of Galvanized Fasteners

Q: What is the life expectancy of electroplated nails, bolts, and lag screws as compared with hot-dip galvanized? Double-dipped fasteners are often recommended, but their cost is almost twice that of electroplated hardware. I have used electroplated on several projects in the past five years and have had no problems — yet. Read more

By Design: A Garrison Face Lift

New face for a gawky colonial Read more

Computer Solutions: A Pilot in Your Palm

Close-up look at the Palm Pilot Read more

Practical Engineering: Box vs. Common Nails Practical Engineering: Box vs. Common Nails

Why you can’t just make a one-to-one substitution of common nails specified in a plan with the same number of box nails. Read more


Rigid precut vapor barrier for joist-bay ends, full-face safety shield, rot-proof exterior door frame, hidden deck fasteners Read more

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