June 2000 Table of Contents

Guide to Vinyl Siding Guide to Vinyl Siding

Though manufacturers are improving the appearance of vinyl siding and making claims of greater durability, builders must choose the right product and install it carefully. Here’s what you need to know. Read more

Choosing Collated Nails

Cheap generic nails seem like a bargain up front, but you may pay the price later in jams and misfires. This article explains how to make an intelligent choice in generic nails, and looks at the many new collated specialty nails on the market. Read more

Concrete Basics Concrete Basics

Concrete seems about as straightforward and rugged as any material on site. But the fact is, if you make certain common mistakes during placement, you can end up with a weak finished product. Here are some essential guidelines that will guarantee good work. Read more

Making the Switch to Steel Making the Switch to Steel

Lumber price swings and declining quality convinced this California production builder to try framing with steel. Now, seven years later, he’s not looking back. Read more

Putting a Limit on Allowances

Three’s the magic number in this system for managing client product selections. Learn how one builder guides homeowners through this difficult process, creating goodwill and saving the schedule along the way. Read more

Shopping for Recessed Lights

For a few extra dollars, a typical off-the-shelf recessed fixture can be upgraded to provide more effective light for a variety of tasks. We look at how various bulbs, trims, and housings affect performance. Read more


Competing with big boxes; Nantucket reader sounds off on underground man; arch-scribing tool clarification Read more


Drywall shortage is history; ASHRAE’s new ventilation standard meets resistance; rebates offered for affordable housing in Dallas; knee therapy holds promise for builders; precut stud lengths all over the map; more Read more

Q & A
Q&A: Finishing a Basement Wall

Q: I would like to install insulation and drywall to finish off a poured-concrete basement wall. Although the basement is high and dry, with no signs of moisture problems, I’m still concerned about condensation. I’d like to know where to install the vapor barrier, if any, and whether there is any advantage to sealing the concrete wall with paint. Read more

Q&A: Insulating a Cathedral Ceiling Under Metal Roofing Q&A: Insulating a Cathedral Ceiling Under Metal Roofing

Q: I need to insulate a cathedral ceiling that will be finished with tongue-and-groove pine paneling. The house has steel roofing installed over 1x3 purlins. There is no plywood roof sheathing. I’m concerned about possible condensation on the underside of the steel roofing, and I would like to know the best way to insulate this ceiling from the underside. Can I insulate with foam board insulation between the rafters? I intend to install a 6-mil poly vapor barrier under the ceiling boards. Read more

Q&A: Covering Up a Brick Fireplace

Q: I am building an addition that will enclose the back side of an existing brick fireplace, which is now on the exterior of the building. Can 2x4 furring be attached directly to the brick? Read more

Q&A: Replacing Chimney Counterflashings

Q: Whenever I need to replace chimney counterflashings, I seal the top of the flashing with Quickcrete, using a caulk gun. This product is made for concrete repairs, and comes in a tube. I know that some people will mix up a little mortar for this job, and others use silicone or urethane caulk. What is the best product to use? Read more

Q&A: Does Wood Siding Need an Air Space Behind It?

Q: I’m considering installing wood siding over a rain screen, but I’m unsure whether the potential benefits justify the extra expense. What is the real benefit of an air space behind wood siding? Read more

Q&A: Installing Fenceposts

Q: I am installing a fence with pressure-treated 4x4 posts. Is there any advantage to installing a base of crushed stone at the bottom of the post hole? If I partially backfill around the post with concrete, will the concrete hold the fencepost more firmly, or will it encourage the fencepost to rot? Read more

Drywood Termites

Q: I work in and around Albuquerque, N.M. Do drywood termites cause trouble in this area? If so, what measures can one take to prevent damage? Read more

By Design: From Garage to Dining Room

Converting an attached garage to living space Read more

Legal Adviser: Firing a Subcontractor

Terminating a subcontractor relationship Read more

Kitchen & Bath
Kitchen & Bath: Shower Design Guidelines

Guidelines for comfortable showers Read more


New prefinished hardwood strip flooring; NFL hardhats; concrete anchors to withstand seismic vibration; airtight attic hatch; shears for asphalt shingles; contoured underlayment for vinyl siding; no-drip faucet connectors; strap-on sandals for gripping roof surfaces; more Read more

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