July 2000 Table of Contents

Electrical Q&A for Remodelers

A master electrician addresses questions and concerns about old and retrofit wiring on the typical remodeling site. Read more

On Site With Duradek On Site With Duradek

This single-ply membrane doubles as an impermeable, non-slip deck surface for porches and decks built over living space. A roofer shows how it’s installed. Read more

Tool Test: Plate Joiners

Biscuit joiners are useful for making tight, flush miters, attaching windowsills and jamb extensions, and building cabinets on site. This hands-on comparison will help you choose the one that’s right for you. Read more

Tracking Your Profit

Using the percentage complete method, you can accurately track revenue and profit throughout your jobs. Read more

Undermount Sinks Undermount Sinks

As stone and solid-surface counters have become more popular, so have undermount sinks. Here’s an overview of what’s available and what it takes to ensure a successful installation. Read more


Big box defense; source for adjustable steel posts; readers respond to low-flow findings. Read more


Private-sector building inspectors; window makers avoid installer certification; FEMA report highlights garage doors in tornado failures; polyiso boards found shrinking on the job; SIPS used for Arctic shelter; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A: Must Remodel Come Up to Code?

Q: If an electrician comes and does work, does he have to bring the whole house up to code? Are there certain things he has to do and others that are optional? What is permitted versus what is best practice? Read more

Q&A: Upgrading Two-Prong Outlets

Q: How about upgrading old two-prong ungrounded outlets from the ’70s and back? Read more

Q&A: Should Older Wiring Be Updated?

Q: When remodeling or adding to an older home, what are some things to look for that indicate the entire house’s wiring should be updated or replaced? Read more

Q&A: Tying into Old Armored Cable Q&A: Tying into Old Armored Cable

Q: Can you keep old armored-cable circuits, or should you replace them? If you disconnect old circuits, what’s the rule around tearing out old wire versus leaving it buried? Read more

Q&A: Tying into Aluminum Wiring

Q: Why not just tie into aluminum wiring? Read more

Q&A: Concealed Splices in Remodels Q&A: Concealed Splices in Remodels

Q: What are the rules for dealing with old concealed splices? Read more

Q&A: Switching from 3-Wire to 4-Wire 240-Volt Appliance

Q: How do you wire a four-wire 240-volt appliance (kitchen range or dryer) if there used to be a three-wire appliance there? Read more

Q&A: Extending the Depth of An Outlet in Remodeling Q&A: Extending the Depth of An Outlet in Remodeling

Q: When you add a new layer of finish, what is the easiest way to bring the electrical boxes flush to the new wall surface? Read more

Q&A: Putting New Devices in Old Boxes Q&A: Putting New Devices in Old Boxes

Q: What are the choices for putting new switch and outlet boxes in old walls? Any hints for attaching the boxes? Read more

Q&A: Tips for Snaking Wires

Q: Any tips for wire-snaking? Read more

Q&A: Causes and Cures for Bubbling Laminate

Q: Over the past five years, I’ve built more than 30 laminate countertops, and I’ve never had any problems with them. Recently, however, one of my countertops started to bubble in a few places about five weeks after I built it. I tried taking an iron and heating the laminate, then flattening it with a J-roller until the laminate cooled. This worked, but for only about a week. What could be causing this to happen? And what can I do to fix this problem? Read more

Q&A: Saw Blade Depth Adjustment Q&A: Saw Blade Depth Adjustment

Q: We have an ongoing debate on our job site concerning the proper way to adjust the blade depth on a circular saw. One group says that the blade should be set just slightly deeper than the thickness of the material being cut. The other group says that the blade should usually be left at the maximum depth, since this allegedly gives better control, is less stressful on the saw, and gives the longest blade life. Who’s right? Read more

Q&A: Too Much Thermal Mass?

Q: When designing a radiant floor, can there be such a thing as too much thermal mass? Here in Alaska, we sometimes see the temperature jump from -10°F up to 40°F above in just a few hours. Read more

Q&A: Should EIFS Extend to Grade?

Q: Is it acceptable to terminate EIFS at grade? I’m worried that this might provide easy access for termites, or might allow moisture to wick into the wall. Read more

Q&A: Laying a Hardwood Floor Parallel to the Joists Q&A: Laying a Hardwood Floor Parallel to the Joists

Q: For aesthetic reasons, I would like to run 3/4x3-inch oak strip flooring parallel to the floor joists, instead of perpendicular as is typical. Is there any reason I can’t do it? The subfloor is 3/4-inch tongue-and-groove plywood. Read more

By Design: Fitting the Garage on a Narrow Lot

Fitting a rear garage on a narrow lot Read more


Managing the subtrades; building problems primer; self-help for builders; more Read more

Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath: Bathroom Trends from the K&B Show

What’s new from the KBIS show in Chicago Read more

Problem-Solving Products

Building materials are always changing and so are the tools used to install them. Here’s a look at what’s new and worthy, from foundation to finishes. Read more

Toolbox: New Safety Harness Aims for Comfort

Comfortable safety harness; new stone scribing tool; cabinetmaker’s choice in combination blades; more Read more

Backfill: The Last One to Let You Down

Making way for development means moving everything — even graveyards Read more

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