Tips

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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,...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

Snowblower Safety

Before starting the snowthrower, clear the operating area. Pick up all sticks, doormats, toys, electrical cords or other debris that might cause damage to the snowthrower, you or others.

Dress properly for the job. Wear warm clothing and shoes that will improve footing on slippery surfaces. Wear eye protection and avoid wearing loose fitting items that might get caught in the machine’s moving parts.

Know how to stop a running snowthrower quickly.

If the chute becomes clogged, do the following: Turn off the snowthrower and wait for all moving parts to stop. Remove the spark plug wire. Use a stick, not your hand, to remove the impacted snow. Keep all body parts clear of the chute at all times.

read more

Space Heater Safety

Look for one that is listed with a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have been tested to meet specific safety standards, and manufacturers are required to provide important use and care information to the consumer. On heaters that are not listed, consumers have less assurance that the safety features and operating instructions are adequate.

read more

Contingency Clauses

Contingency clauses should satisfy the concerns of both the buyer and seller. Buyers also can protect themselves by inserting additional necessary contingencies. Indicate which items like curtains and appliances are to remain with the house. Then stipulate you have the right to personally inspect the home 24 hours before closing to make sure all is in order.

read more

Bamboo Flooring

Many people find bamboo flooring very attractive. It looks similar to regular wood flooring, but it is harder and more durable. Bamboo has a short growing time, so it is a rapidly renewable resource. Most bamboo flooring contains trace amounts of formaldehyde; one brand that does not is Bamboo Hardwoods, and Teragren contains very low levels.

read more

Blossom And Leaf Removal

Once the flower fades, the flower and stem can be removed. The leaves must remain on the plant until they turn yellow and die. The leaves provide food to build up the bulb and form next year’s flower bud. Foliage cut for flower arrangements is taken from several plants, not all from one.

read more

Drill Bit Cases

When you buy a drill bit set, it most likely will come in a storage case. This case will help you figure out which size bit you need to use. When drilling holes for a pilot or lead hole for a nail, find which slot in the bit case the nail will fit in. The next size down is the bit you should choose. When drilling a pilot hole for a screw, you need to choose two bits. One for the starter hole and one for the pilot hole. Find which slot in your bit storage case the screw will fit in. That is the size of bit you should use for the pilot hole. For the starter hold, use the next smaller sized bit.

read more

Choosing a Fuel Source

When your’re choosing a fuel source for your home heating system, start with available fuels in your region, because not all fuels are available everywhere and some are cleaner and more efficient than others. Based on your chosen fuel—natural gas, fuel oil, light propane gas, and kerosene are the most common—you can figure out how much heat a gallon will give you and how efficient that fuel is likely to be. Called the standard heat value, the amount of heat a fuel can produce per gallon or cubic foot is measured and reported in Btu (British thermal units). The higher the Btu produced, the more efficiently the fuel burns and the greater its heat value. Fuel oil, for example, has a heat value of 135,000 Btu/gal., while liquid propane gas produces 91,000 Btu/gal. Next you need to plug that information into the furnace selected. How many Btu/hour the furnace or boiler releases determines its output and will help to decide how much furnace you need to heat your space to the desired temperature. This is how the pros size and evaluate your heating needs. Following these formulas, you can plot out your energy usage, optimal furnace size, and desired output, too.

read more

Drill Press Oil

Having a trigger-type oil-can close to your drill press is handy when drilling metal. To make oiling more convenient, find a container that will hold an oil-can that you have available. Then cut two small slits in the upper part to accept a worm-gear hose clamp. Slip the clamp strip into one of the holes and out the other. Then wrap the hose clamp around the post of your drill press, about 5 in. down from the upper assembly. Drop the oil-can into the holder. From then on oil will always be just an arm’s reach away.

read more

Glue Removal

Glue squeeze-out can be wiped up with a wet rag, but this can drive some of the glue into the wood’s pores. A method preferred by many pros is to allow the squeeze-out to form a thick skin (usually about 15 minutes), then use a sharp chisel, paint scraper, or cabinet scraper to remove it. A 1/2- or 3/4-in. chisel is handy for glue removal inside corners or next to mouldings.

read more

Screwdriver Use

While screwdrivers may look like pry bars, chisels, punches and scrapers, they should never be used for such purposes. A screwdriver is most effective when its blade is straight, balanced and sharp. Misusing yours will keep it from performing best when you need it to do what you bought it to do…drive screws. Also, be sure that the handle is clean and free of slippery oil or grease.

read more