Copyright (c) 2015 en-us Fine Homebuilding - "Breaktime Spotlight" blog entries Fine Homebuilding - "Breaktime Spotlight" blog entries Fri, 09 Oct 2015 18:11:24 -0500 Fine Homebuilding - "Breaktime Spotlight" blog entries Fine Homebuilding - "Breaktime Spotlight" blog entries <![CDATA[Is this renovation doomed from the start?]]> Wed, 21 May 2014 10:04:15 -0500 Is this renovation doomed from the start? Posted by ScottG
When an existing brick foundation is capped with another layer of concrete block to reduce the transmission of water vapor, is this renovation company creating the potential for a structural problem? ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Install Board-and-Batten Siding]]> Fri, 16 May 2014 09:15:00 -0500 How to Install Board-and-Batten Siding Posted by ScottG
A Breaktime reader is about to install board-and-batten siding on his new house, and he's getting mixed messages on the best way to finish it. Should he stain only the outer face of the siding as the mill owner suggests, or make sure all six sides of each board is finished? ]]>
<![CDATA[Getting the Sag Out]]> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 10:37:42 -0500 Getting the Sag Out Posted by ScottG
An expensive house dating from the 1960s has developed an annoying problem in the form of a floor that sags 3/4 in. over a 16-ft. span. Iamme would like to correct the problem but isn't sure if his plan will work. ]]>
<![CDATA[Does a Roof Need a Ridge Vent?]]> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 Does a Roof Need a Ridge Vent? Posted by ScottG
Most roofs on new houses seem to have continuous ridge vents, which have largely replaced the louvered gable vents commonly installed a generation ago. But what about a house that already has gable vents? When it needs a new roof, should it get a ridge vent at the same time? ]]>
<![CDATA[I Need a What in my Crawlspace?]]> Thu, 02 May 2013 13:17:07 -0500 I Need a What in my Crawlspace? Posted by ScottG
As he makes plans for an addition to his Connecticut house, RickGreg has been told by the local building department he must install a fan in the insulated, unvented crawlspace. Does this mysterious edict make any sense? ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Keep a Garage-Shop Toasty Warm]]> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 10:07:03 -0500 How to Keep a Garage-Shop Toasty Warm Posted by ScottG
Strawmyers knows all about the misery of working in an icy cold pole barn, and with a new attached garage on the horizon he has a chance for more comfortable working conditions. The question is how much to invest in insulation, and how to heat the space ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Fix a Sagging Beam]]> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 10:45:18 -0500 How to Fix a Sagging Beam Posted by ScottG
According to an engineer's calculations, the built-up beam over pboneox1's kitchen will be strong enough to carry the intended structural loads. But there's no question it's sagging, and that has pboneox1 wondering what, if anything, he should do about it. ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Pour a Rock-Solid, Well-Insulated Garage Slab]]> Fri, 28 Dec 2012 16:30:23 -0500 How to Pour a Rock-Solid, Well-Insulated Garage Slab Posted by ScottG
Combining strength and thermal efficiency in a garage slab that will carry a lot of weight ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Repair a Butchered Floor Joist]]> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 14:01:00 -0500 How to Repair a Butchered Floor Joist Posted by ScottG
There's no question the criticism is often undeserved, but plumbers nonetheless have a reputation for taking a recip saw to studs, joists, and rafters when they get in the way of supply and drain lines. The result, as Tackitybits has discovered, can be tough to fix. ]]>
<![CDATA[What's Better: Crawlspace or Slab-on-Grade?]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 10:14:50 -0500 What's Better: Crawlspace or Slab-on-Grade? Posted by ScottG
A 74-year-old planning a new home in North Carolina ponders the relative advantages of a crawl space and a slab. ]]>
<![CDATA[Using Housewrap for Insulation Baffles]]> Thu, 25 Oct 2012 10:26:55 -0500 Using Housewrap for Insulation Baffles Posted by ScottG
A bargain-hunting builder searches for an alternative to commercially available insulation baffles for use in a cathedral ceiling. Can he fashion something from a $30 roll of housewrap? ]]>
<![CDATA[Should Builders Provide Free Estimates?]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2012 11:02:13 -0500 Should Builders Provide Free Estimates? Posted by ScottG
Potential customers seem to love them, and why not? But pros are divided, some insisting that providing estimates is part of running a business and others just as adamant that would-be customers should be charged. ]]>
<![CDATA[Searching for Clues to Wet Sheathing]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 09:32:14 -0500 Searching for Clues to Wet Sheathing Posted by ScottG
A 6-year-old house on the Washington coast looked like an enviable retirement home, but a closer inspection finds wet OSB sheathing and the homeowner wonders whether the underlayment is to blame. ]]>
<![CDATA[What's the Best Way to Install Cedar-Shingle Siding on an Old House?]]> Wed, 20 Jun 2012 10:47:54 -0500 What's the Best Way to Install Cedar-Shingle Siding on an Old House? Posted by ScottG
New shingles are going over the old as part of a lead-abatement program, but the contractor who won the job is using techniques that make the homeowner nervous. ]]>
<![CDATA[After the Storm: Tales of Home Repair]]> Fri, 04 Nov 2011 16:00:22 -0500 After the Storm: Tales of Home Repair Posted by ScottG
Storm damage can range from broken rafters to smashed windows and shredded roof shingles. Repairs don't always go as smoothly as they should, and sometimes uncover shortcuts taken in the past ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Prevent Cracks in Drywall ]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:30:39 -0500 How to Prevent Cracks in Drywall Posted by ScottG
A remodeling contractor and self-described perfectionist is bugged about defects that have appeared in a ceiling he's just installed ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Reinforce 2x6 Ceiling Joists to Handle Heavy Loads]]> Wed, 09 Feb 2011 11:35:20 -0500 How to Reinforce 2x6 Ceiling Joists to Handle Heavy Loads Posted by ScottG
After building a new workshop, the owner belatedly realizes the 2x6 joists may not be strong enough to support the weight of hardwood lumber he wants to store overhead. Now what? ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Drum Up More Remodeling Business -- Should I Pay to Estimate?]]> Mon, 03 Jan 2011 16:44:59 -0500 How to Drum Up More Remodeling Business -- Should I Pay to Estimate? Posted by ScottG
Even in the best of times, getting new business isn't easy. When buying newspaper ads or relying on word-of-mouth referrals isn't getting it done, what are some off-beat approaches to reeling in new paying customers? ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Attach a Deck Ledger to the House]]> Fri, 10 Dec 2010 10:34:46 -0500 How to Attach a Deck Ledger to the House Posted by ScottG
Breaktime contributor Starboardtacker is looking for suggestions on how to attach a deck ledger to his house. Should he use pressure-treated blocks between the ledger and the house? Skip the blocks and use a few washers? Or is there another way? ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Convince Customers Not to Go the DIY Route?]]> Mon, 08 Nov 2010 12:00:08 -0500 ScottG
What's the best approach with a couple that's divided over the scope of the work? The wife wants the contractor to build a complete house. The husband wants only a shell he can finish himself. ]]>