Tips

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Battery Life

Batteries will keep their charge longer if they’re kept cool. Warmer temperatures will shorten their life. Always recharge a battery right after it is used. Never store an uncharged battery and recharge unused batteries every two months.

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Chair Spindle Fix

A common shop repair is fixing spindles in a chair that have loosened up. When the end of the spindle is too small for the hole, a good fix is to simply wrap and glue thin veneer around it. To hold the veneer in place while the glue dries, use an automotive hose clamp. Once done, you can either rebore the hole or shave the spindle end for a snug fit.

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Fixing Door Dents

If you have dents in the metal-clad doors in your home, one answer is to use auto-body fillers to make the fix. Either the polyester resin or fiberglass paste fillers bond well with steel, and the repair can be made like on a car. But, because you can finish the door with acrylic-latex trim paint, not glossy auto body paint, you don’t need the skills of an auto body technician to get excellent results.

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HVAC Budget

Whether you intend to install insulation yourself or hire a contractor, make sure that you know the guaranteed minimum R-value you are looking for. Have any contractor state that installed R-value as part of the bid. Also, prepare for the project by assessing what needs to be done to reduce air infiltration before installation. Include the cost of these added components and labor in your cost calculations. Keep in mind, too, that a tight home requires ventilation, so you may need to take another look at your bathroom and whole house ventilation strategies. Armed with all of this information, select the insulation that meets your energy efficiency, budgetary, and installation requirements. The end result will be a job well done, with energy and cost savings to tally long into the future.

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Make Mulch

Chippers are a valuable addition to the yard power tool arsenal. They can turn brush piles, branches, woody debris and other yard refuse into valuable mulch and wood chips. As you feed the debris through varying size hoppers, powerful blades instantly shred it into smaller chips. You can then spread this mulch around bushes and shrubs to help inhibit weed growth and retain moisture.

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Sizing Dowels

For a good joint, a fluted or spiraled dowel must fit snugly enough in the hole to allow the glue to come up around it. The dowel should reach to the bottom of the hole and be used with enough glue. For insurance, apply glue to both the sides of the hole and to the dowel itself.

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The Right Contractor

When planing a major renovation project you will increase your chances for a successful outcome if you hire a contractor with whom you feel comfortable. Make sure the contractor has experience in renovation. Always check references and make every attempt to see current and/or previous work.

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