Home Improvement Old

Framing a Garage Workshop

Framing a Garage Workshop

When choosing the framing and construction materials for your garage, consider how it will be used, what fire and safety requirements you may have, and what additions you may need later on. Today’s garage holds cars, big toys, and serves as a central home workshop or mechanic’s den. Most garages have three doors to fit […]

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Laminated Veneer Lumber

Laminated Veneer Lumber

The laminated veneer lumber (LVL) manufacturing process creates a strong and stable product that can reliably support large areas. Wide open spaces are great for country music singers, but can be a real headache for builders. To create large, open rooms, builders and architects must find away to keep the building’s structure rigid without using […]

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Insulating Concrete Slabs, Foundations and Basements

Insulating Concrete Slabs, Foundations and Basements

Most residential concrete-foundation systems will come into contact with the ground and face moisture-management and heat-loss issues. Protecting the foundation of the home starts with the right barrier. Concrete slabs, basement foundation systems, and crawl-spaces all experience water-vapor issues. Moisture infiltration can lead to mold and mildew growth and cement discoloration. Heat loss through the […]

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Green Homes Series: Foundations

Green Homes Series: Foundations

A solid foundation is essential for any home. But today’s emphasis on “green” suggests that other factors be considered as well. A good foundation is important. It helps a house withstand vertical and horizontal loads and protects from frost heaves. Foundation Basics Foundations are typically made of concrete, concrete block, brick or stone with a […]

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Vapor Diffusion Retarders and Air Barriers

Vapor Diffusion Retarders and Air Barriers

Vapor diffusion retarders, air retarders, and air/vapor retarders all relate to the interaction of temperature and moisture in and around the building envelope. A vapor barrier or vapor diffusion retarder (VDR) is a material that reduces the rate at which water vapor can move through a material. The Thermal-Moisture Dynamic Water vapor moves in and […]

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Load-bearing Walls

Load-bearing Walls

Before you grab a hammer, saw or crowbar to remove an unwanted wall, make sure you understand its role in holding up your house. Today’s typical floor plan often includes bright and open spaces with high ceilings. Before the advent of today’s modern building materials, these wide-open spaces were difficult—and often expensive—to achieve. As a […]

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Expanding a One-Story House: Build a Second Story or a First-Floor Addition?

Expanding a One-Story House: Build a Second Story or a First-Floor Addition?

You’re expanding your home, but should you build up or out? Enlarge the footprint of your single-story residence or add a second floor? Before you call in the architect, here’s what you need to consider. Julie Languille and her husband, Larry, love everything about their 1,200-square foot home on Whidbey Island, Wash.—everything, that is, but […]

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Stairbuilding Basics

Stairbuilding Basics

Take the quick way to the top with a simple lesson in basic stair construction. Building nice staircases takes patience and skill. But it’s worth the effort: beautiful stairs help make a home special. But, before you break out the tape measure and circular saw, remember that quality pre-built stairs are available from specialty stair […]

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The Carpenter’s Square

The Carpenter’s Square

The carpenter’s square is a deceptive tool. It looks simple, it’s a ruler with an elbow, a straightedge that turns a corner. Yet it is a great deal more, because it can function as a sophisticated arithmetical guide to many of the complexities of laying out a wood-frame house. Every time I pick up a […]

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Roofing Materials

Roofing Materials

Cost, ease of installation and appearance are all factors when choosing a roofing material. While asphalt shingles account for close to 90 percent of all residential roofing jobs, they certainly aren’t the end of the story when it comes to roofing. Sheet metal, cement tiles, wood shakes or shingles, traditional slate or ceramic tile are […]

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Roofs: Design, Function and Maintenance

Roofs: Design, Function and Maintenance

A good roof is graceful, it’s good-looking, and it ages well. To realize that end, however, you’ll need to do three things: design the roof appropriately, build it right, and take good care of it. Your roof is critical to basic house performance. It gives your house identity, shelters you from the weather, withstands sun, […]

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Roofing Materials

Six Steps to Better Roof Protection

The weak link in most existing houses is in the connection of the roof sheathing to the rafters or roof trusses. The weak link in most existing houses is in the connection of the roof sheathing to the rafters or roof trusses. There are several ways to strengthen this attachment. The cheapest and easiest is […]

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Building a Tighter Roof with Roofing Underlayments

Building a Tighter Roof with Roofing Underlayments

Roof underlayments are designed to protect the roof sheathing and structure from moisture and penetration. Advances in materials and technology have created more options and increased manufacturers’ warranties. Roofing underlayment was originally used for temporary protection against the elements but is now an integral part of a home’s overall roof system. Underlayment provides a vital […]

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Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are an economical roofing solution. But shop around, because not all shingles are the same. Asphalt shingles are economical and versatile, which may be why they represent more than 80 percent of the roofing market. They’re relatively inexpensive to buy and install, are suited to roof pitches from 2-in-12 to vertical, and are […]

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Cedar Shingle Maintenance

Cedar Shingle Maintenance

Cedar roofing and siding are a classic building material, and with proper installation, care and maintenance will last 20 or more years. Left untreated, they will weather to a natural gray, or they can be painted or stained. Cedar shakes and shingles are highly wind and hail resistant roofing choices, and when properly treated have […]

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Your Home’s Exterior: Comparing Paint and Siding

Your Home’s Exterior: Comparing Paint and Siding

It’s tempting to judge a home by its cover, but for decisions about paint or siding, you need to go a little deeper and consider what’s already there, what shape it’s in, your budget and aesthetics. With advances in paint and siding, how to color and protect your home is a many-sided equation. David Lucas, […]

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Window Properties and Design

Window Properties and Design

The doors and windows that are right for you will depend on the climate you live in and the design of your house. Windows can make or break a building project. Choose wisely and your home will be comfortable, attractive, and easy to maintain. Buy the wrong ones and you can spend more than you […]

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Natural Ventilation

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation relies on the wind and the “chimney effect” to keep a building cool. The wind will naturally ventilate your home or business by entering or leaving windows, depending on their orientation to the wind. When wind blows against your home, air is forced into your windows. Heat accumulates in your building during the […]

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