August 2011 Table of Contents

Building a Simple Passive House Building a Simple Passive House

In September 2009 I completed a deep energy retrofit on a small house in Point Reyes Station, Calif., some 50 miles north of San Francisco. Read more

Combining Two Condos Combining Two Condos

Read how a pair of self-closing fire doors preserved the fire rating of the wall between the two units. Read more

Expanding a Kitchen

We were wrapping up the latest in a series of renovation projects on a suburban Maryland split-level home when I casually mentioned to the owner that her Thanksgiving family gatherings would be a lot more enjoyable if her small kitchen weren't separated from the dining and living areas by a wall. Read more

Hydronic Heating for Low-Load Houses Hydronic Heating for Low-Load Houses

With the right hardware and layout, hot-water heating saves energy and makes ideal use of the sun. Read more

Letters Letters

Garage slab tips; wood foundation skeptic Read more

JLC Report: New Code Requirements for Tornado Safe Rooms Kick In as Demand Spikes JLC Report: New Code Requirements for Tornado Safe Rooms Kick In as Demand Spikes

New code requirement for tornado safe rooms; OSHA postpones alternative fall-protection prohibition; Chinese drywall supplier settles with homeowners Read more

Is Weathered OSB Okay? Is Weathered OSB Okay?

How to evaluate exterior-rated OSB sheathing that has been left exposed to the elements for an extended period of time. Read more

Is There a Safe Lead Level For Soils Next to a House? Is There a Safe Lead Level For Soils Next to a House?

The risk is low, but before gardening it's a good idea to have the soil tested and - if necessary - amended to immobilize the lead. Read more

Q&A: Hot-Mopping Health Risks Q&A: Hot-Mopping Health Risks

Q: I received the new JLC book "Tiling for Contractors," by Michael Byrne, and was dismayed to see that there is no section that addresses hot-mop shower pans, including framing, backing, and pan installation. Why not? Read more

On the Job
Weaving a Cedar Roof Valley Weaving a Cedar Roof Valley

Cedar roofs are common in Eastern Massachusetts, where I live and work. Read more

LED Light Bulb LED Light Bulb

According to GE, fins surrounding the new 9-watt Energy Smart LED bulb dissipate heat and disperse light, making it the world's first omnidirectional LED replacement bulb. Read more

Brighter Fan Lights Brighter Fan Lights

Broan and NuTone recently announced that they've improved the lighting for their Ultra Silent Ventilation Fans With Lights. Read more

Discreet Keyless Entry Discreet Keyless Entry

The SimpliciKey Remote Control Electronic Deadbolt is designed to look just like a traditional mechanical lock (it even has a functional keyhole). Read more

Sun-Resistant Underlayment Sun-Resistant Underlayment

Grace Ice & Water Shield HT provides the same protection against ice dams and wind-driven rain as the company's standard underlayment - but it's made with an adhesive that is unaffected by temperatures as high as 240°F, the maker says. Read more

Low-Noise Fan Low-Noise Fan

A new player has jumped into the high-end bath-fan market. Delta Products Corp. says Breez Ventilation Fans have ball-bearing-equipped DC brushless motors and 67-fin impellers for ultra-quiet energy-efficient operation. Read more

Mineral Surface Underlayment Mineral Surface Underlayment

IB-3 StormStopper is a self-adhering (50-mil-thick) mineral surface underlayment that can be used to protect trouble spots like valleys and rake edges or the entire roof. Read more

Lead-Safe Video Lead-Safe Video

If you sat through the eight-hour RRP training course and still can't figure out how to follow the law without going bankrupt, you're not alone. Read more

Dressed-Up Suspended Ceiling Dressed-Up Suspended Ceiling

Why settle for an institutional-looking ceiling just to provide access to mechanicals? Read more

Lightweight Green Pavers Lightweight Green Pavers

Vast's Composite Pavers are made almost entirely from recycled materials - mostly scrap tires and plastic bottles - and weigh one-third as much as traditional brick or concrete. Read more

Ventilating Acrylic-Block Windows Ventilating Acrylic-Block Windows

US Block Windows' operable acrylic-block windows provide the appearance and privacy features of conventional glass blocks - but they open and close. Read more

Tough Tile Grout Tough Tile Grout

Laticrete says its new SpectraLock Pro Premium Grout is GreenGuard-certified (for low-VOC emissions) yet exceeds the toughest commercial performance standards. Read more

Floodproof Subfloor Floodproof Subfloor

Tapered edges help PointSix Flooring go down flat and stay flat even when exposed to severe job-site weather or flooding, says the maker. Read more

Three Milwaukee 12-Volt Cordless Plumbing Tools Three Milwaukee 12-Volt Cordless Plumbing Tools

Earlier this year, my crew and I tested three cordless plumbing tools from Milwaukee's M12 lithium-ion line. Read more

Patterned Welding Helmets Patterned Welding Helmets

Hard hats festooned with sports logos have been available for years. Read more

Affordable Video Scope For Site Inspections Affordable Video Scope For Site Inspections

With a price tag of just $200, the VS36-10WD Video Scope may hasten the day when every remodeler has an inspection scope in his or her tool kit. Read more

Lightweight Aluminum Break Lightweight Aluminum Break

Aluminum fabricators who fly solo might appreciate the Ultima Plus Alum-A-Brake, which has a removable work table that pops off in five seconds, lightening the load by 20 pounds. Read more

Heavy-Duty Metal Cutter Heavy-Duty Metal Cutter

Kett recently upgraded its AN3000 nibbler. Read more

Hillside Elevators Hillside Elevators

Waterfront property never goes out of style, and everyone likes a spectacular building site perched on high ground. Read more

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