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Transformation of the Week by:
Fine Homebuilding contributing editor Mike Guertin is a builder and remodeler from East Greenwich, R.I. Mike started his building career at age 7 nailing off subfloor sheathing and shoveling crushed stone while helping his parents to build their family home. He wrote his first article for FHB in 1995 and became a contributing editor in 1996. He has written articles on almost every aspect of home building, from framing and roofing to concrete foundations and vinyl siding. He has also written books and speaks about home building at conferences nationwide.
Dedicated footings and the right hardware make a secure stringer attachment
Build a custom-size, grade-level deck with benches, planters, and a decorative border
Don’t guess at your deck footings. Dig in and figure it out.
Three days’ work and $600 in materials save this deck from a catastrophic ending
They're no fun to dig, but that's no excuse for digging them wrong
Careful base prep is what keeps pavers in place
Following code ensures a safe, strong ledger connection—but what do you do when the conditions don’t meet the code’s criteria?
New posts, a cable-rail system, and an applied rim board breathe new life into a weathered deck
Gone are the days of hammer tackers for installing housewrap and roof underlayment
Self-adhering underlayment provides critical protection in vulnerable locations
Running PVC and low-voltage wiring brings cleaner rooms and clearer air
Whether you’re replacing wood, fiber cement, or vinyl, choose the right tools, and minimize the collateral damage
Grooved boards and hidden fasteners combine for a blemish-free surface
Fasten posts for a deck railing you can lean on for years to come
Whether for patios or walkways, base prep is what keeps pavers in place
Protect yourself from collapse, rot, and nasty splinters. Inspect these 8 critical areas every season
Putting the fast in fastener: New decking fasteners are engineered for speed
Bimetal saws are inexpensive and versatile, but don’t overlook the specialty tools designed to make clean cuts in less common materials
Ridgid's Fuego 5-in fiber-cement saw (R3400) features a unique dust-collection system
A torture-test for Bosch's newly-introduced bits
Retrofitting undershingle intake and ridge vents helped to cool and dry this 120-year-old attic
The Bagster is a good alternative to steel roll-off trash containers
InSoFast insulation panels simplify the process of installing insulation
A peel-and-stick membrane under the flashing guarantees that the skylight won’t leak—ever
Keep an eye on the stringline, and have a handful of spacers and a board straightener within easy reach
A proactive approach to flashing one of a roof's most vulnerable intersections
Locate the skylight's position, then mark and cut the opening in the roof
Proper flashing ensures a long life for the skylight and the roof
In this final step, Mike Guertin works his way from the top down to connect the tube and let the daylight in
Mike Guertin demonstrates his step-by-step process for bringing the sun's rays into a dark hallway
Mike Guertin explains the ins and outs of how tubular skylights work
Seal air leaks first; then add extra insulation for an energy-saving improvement with great bang for the buck
Less dusty than cellulose, blown-in fiberglass increases R-value and installs quickly
Looking to save money? Have custom lengths of aluminum gutters rolled out on site, and get out the ladders.
This flashing method might seem excessive until that first big driving rain
Ledger brackets, flexible flashing, and a joist-hanger jig are a few field-tested tricks for overcoming construction challenges
Function determines if the patio's surface should be coarse or smooth
Know what to expect, prepare for the worst, and the rest is easy
A scribe, a hole saw, nibblers, and a jigsaw are all good options when anything but a straight cut is required
For straight cuts, a specialized circular saw with a matching blade controls dust
Shears make a nice, clean cut while protecting both your material and your lungs
Cutting through the slab is grunt work of the highest order, but a relatively easy way to get an extra bath
Reframing exploits unused attic space and helps to open up a cramped ranch house
The best models help you to handle a multitude of carpentry tasks by setting up quickly, moving easily, and providing solid support
Mike Guertin explains the classes of miter-saw stands and demonstrates their benefits
Comments on seven additional stands reviewed by our testers
Stinger CH38 cap hammer
Kick-Out Diverters direct water right where it belongs: into the gutter
Measure, insulate, and caulk. Do it right, and cut your energy bill by 25%.
Too much floor deflection can be troublesome
A rooftop model keeps rain outside and conditioned air inside
Transform an old dresser into a classy bathroom fixture
With a few special tools, you can preassemble the cabinets and cut a big job down to size
The newest corded saws cut more aggressively than their predecessors, and they're easier to adjust and handle
Let simple wooden wedges do the heavy lifting
New circular saws are more lightweight, comfortable, convenient, and precise than ever before. Here's a close look at 10 top models.
In a field of powerful and accurate tools, three saws stand out with useful features and large cutting capacities
A skylight well with splayed sides lets in lots of light to transform a plain ranch
A temporary form and laminated plywood stringers make building these stairs easier than you might think
Safe to use and inexpensive to build, A-frames and a couple of planks beat working from a ladder
A quiet fan, airtight ductwork, and a leak-free vent combine to clear moisture from the bathroom and the house
A valance of MDF and crown molding hides an unsightly shade
Fast and accurate, these pneumatic tools put framing connector nails right where they're needed
A custom builder shows three conventional ways and one new method to weatherproof this crucial roof detail
Proper preparation goes a long way toward preventing leaks
Author and custom builder Mike Guertin explains how to calculate the quantity of shingles you'll need for you next roofing job in this excerpt from his book Roofing with Asphalt Shingles
If vinyl’s final, you’d best get the details right. A veteran builder shows how to make it water-resistant and attractive.
Hot air rises. And where does it go? It could be going right out the attic access in your house.
Whether you prefer coil nailers or stick nailers, it's a buyer's market. Two seasoned builders sort through 30 models and find new favorites.
These simple site-built beams are the backbone of the house, so make sure you build them straight and set them level
Simple shapes let ordinary sidewall shingles take flight
Proper framing for bearing and nonbearing walls
Before you slice through studs, make sure you've got the weight of the house well supported elsewhere
Before you build that eye-catching bay onto the side of a house, you have to get the floor framing right
Despite the obstacles, converting that dark, scary place into comfortable living space is much cheaper than adding on
Don't cut any roof trusses until you get most of the new framing in place
A nailing flange makes installation quick and easy; but pay attention to the details, or you'll never get the windows open
With a little custom metalwork and an extra cabinet door, you can make your refrigerator look like a million bucks (or at least a $5,000 Sub-Zero)
All 12 of these versatile saws crosscut, bevel and miter; which one should you buy?
They're as common on job sites as circular saws, but if you're not using your pneumatic nailer properly, maybe you should stick with your hammer
They hold up the house, hold back the earth and keep out the water. If they're not level and square, you may end up custom-cutting every rafter.
Fill up a trench with concrete -- what's to know? If a house is going to stand on those little sidewalks, they'd better be straight, level and correctly placed.
If you do the layout carefully and precut all the joists, the floor will go together quickly like a giant jigsaw puzzle
Forget the mess of roll roofing -- for flat or low-slope roofs, EPDM membranes are the way to go
How a seasoned crew uses a story pole and an efficient work sequence to install this traditional siding
Whether you're building a new house or remodeling an old one, engineered lumber can give you squeak-free floors with fewer callbacks
When properly detailed, high-tech wrappings can reduce the flow of air into outside walls while allowing moisture to escape
Keep the numbered trusses in order, and entire hip sections can be assembled on the ground and lifted as single units
Careful preparation and wise use of a crane can allow a good-size roof to be framed and sheathed in a day
If you assume the foundation is accurate, you may end up custom cutting each rafter and fussing with every miter in your trim
In this episode of the Project House deck series, builder Mike Guertin shares tips for forming piers, mixing concrete, and adding hardware to support deck posts
Builder Mike Guertin applies peel-and-stick flashing before securely fastening a new deck ledger to the house
Fit deck posts and square up beams and end joists quickly and easily with the tips builder Mike Guertin shares in this video
Builder Mike Guertin installs joist hangers before placing joists and connecting them to the main deck frame
Builder Mike Guertin shares tips for putting deck piers in the right place and securely attaching a ledger to a house
Mike Guertin wraps up the deck framing with some sturdy stairs, several meticulously-placed posts, and plenty of blocking to keep things straight
Seasoned builder Mike Guertin shows a simple way to make a clean, straight cut when trimming a door to height.
Cortex concealed fastening system
The process might seem redundant at first, but the minor expense in time is better than repairing rot down the road
Applying a barrier where deck hardware contacts pressure-treated wood can help both last longer
Watch veteran builder Mike Guertin as he builds a new, grade-level deck on the Fine Homebuilding Project House. Mike share updates on the current code, tips for making a deck weather the elements, and tricks for making the whole job run more smoothly
Master Carpenter Video Series
Transformation of the Week Gallery
FHB’s Remodeling Showcase
Roofing with Asphalt ShinglesExpert advice from start to finish
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