August 2000 Table of Contents

Choosing a Sheathing Wrap

We take a look at the key differences between housewrap, asphalt felt, and kraft building paper to help you make the right choice. Read more

Cutting Fiber-Cement Cutting Fiber-Cement

A Texas builder field-tests the best of the new fiber-cement shears and saws, and reports on his favorites. Read more

Office Spaces that Work

With careful design, your office can accommodate your staff, clients, and occasional crew members — and still allow you to get some work done. Read more

Practical Foundation Waterproofing

Combined with a working drain, this new type of plastic membrane keeps groundwater out of the foundation while allowing moisture in the concrete to evaporate to the outside. Here’s how it’s installed. Read more

Skim-Coat Plaster Skim-Coat Plaster

A thin coat of plaster over gypsum blueboard provides the hard, durable, hand-troweled finish of traditional plaster at a reasonable cost. A Connecticut plasterer and finish carpenter describes the proper tools, materials, and techniques. Read more

Floor Framing With Steel Floor Framing With Steel

Steel floor joists provide flat, stiff floors over long spans and, thanks to new span tables, are easy to size. If you’ve been thinking about framing with steel, floors are a good place to begin. Read more


Metal roof questions; in praise of vinyl siding; vapor barriers; recessed fluorescents; bungalow windows; shower head heights; more Read more


Teardowns becoming a trend; window problems in high altitudes; curved logs making it through the mills; prefab housing update; women in the trades; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A: Asphalt Shingle Nailing Q&A: Asphalt Shingle Nailing

Q: Can asphalt shingles be nailed above the adhesive strip? I have seen leaking low-slope roofs with relatively new asphalt shingles, where the leaks followed the nailing pattern. In the attic, there were rows of drip holes in the cellulose insulation on the attic floor. In this case, the shingles were nailed below the line of the self-seal adhesive, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (We use fiberglass shingles with a solid line of adhesive.) Wouldn’t it be better to nail above the adhesive, where no rain can blow up to get at the nail heads? Read more

Q&A: Radiant Heat Barriers

Q: I have seen many ads for radiant barriers designed to save energy. Is there any evidence that these radiant barriers can reduce home energy costs? If so, in what climates are they most effective? How should they be installed? Read more

Q&A: Pressure-Treated Lumber and Steel Roofing Q&A: Pressure-Treated Lumber and Steel Roofing

Q: I am considering installing steel roofing over 2x4 pressure-treated purlins. Can the chemicals used to treat lumber attack steel roofing? Read more

Q&A: Foil-Faced Sheathing As Insulation

Q: The architect for a new home in Virginia has specified a product called Energy Brace sheathing instead of plywood or OSB. The product feels like cardboard covered with foil. The manufacturer claims that the product has energy benefits. Am I right to be doubtful? Read more

Q&A: Finishing a Pine Floor

Q: I am installing 1x12-inch-wide Eastern white pine flooring throughout a new home, including the kitchen. Since the flooring is used in high-traffic areas, I want to choose a finish that will provide long service. What do you recommend? Read more

Q&A: Estimating Software for Pole Buildings

Q: I recently had the opportunity to bid on a pole building. Do any software companies sell estimating software for post-frame construction? Read more

Q&A: How Rain Screens Work

Q: I plan to install wood siding over a vented rain screen on a house in Seattle, where we get rain for long periods during the winter. My question is, how can the air cavity dry if the exterior relative humidity is 100 percent? Assuming the air cavity temperature is the same as the exterior temperature, the air coming through the cavity can’t pick up any additional moisture. Read more

Q&A: EPDM Roofing Bubbles

Q: After installing an EPDM roof, I noticed that there are a few air bubbles under the roofing. Is this a problem? If so, is there any remedy? Read more

By Design: A Small Office with Eye Appeal

Designing an elegant light-commercial building Read more


Green building guides Read more

Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath: Raising the Dishwasher

Raising the height of a dishwasher makes it easier to use Read more


Rebar safety caps; junction box fits peak of cathedral ceiling; new drywall anchor; fold-up wheelbarrow; plastic structural lumber; drywall repair compound; shingle clips hold tools while you work on the roof; more Read more

Toolbox: Pneumatic Concrete Nailer

Hitachi pneumatic concrete nailer Read more

Backfill: Wide World of Grit

NASCAR beware! Belt sander racing is on the rise Read more

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