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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Ten Great Home Improvement Resources

comments (0) April 25th, 2014 in Blogs
ChuckB ChuckB, senior editor

Let's say you're starting a project, and you need materials, information, and advice. You're in a good place-this website and its parent magazine, Fine Homebuilding, offer all sorts of terrific building information. But you knew that. There are the big-box stores, and Google and YouTube, too, of course. But there are some places you might not have discovered.


1. Check out the smaller lumberyards and hardware stores in your area. They've probably been there for decades, and not only do their staff often have a deep institutional memory, but these businesses often have tools, materials, and hardware you can't find elsewhere. 


2. is the place to go for state-of-the-art weatherstripping and waterproofing supplies, insulation, membranes, and similar materials. 


3. Want to reduce your heating and electrical bills? Save water? Check out the Energy Federation.


4. If you're interested in reclaimed or recycled building materials, visit your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  They stock materials such as new and used fixtures, architectural details, trim, and lumber at a discount, and your money goes to a good cause. 


5. Check the web for architectural salvage yards-businesses that demolish old houses piece by piece. And if you're so inclined, your local dump can be a great place to find stuff. 


Okay, now that you have the materials, what do you do with them? 


6. If you're interested in energy-efficient building, check out The site has up-to-date info on mechanicals, insulation, design, and theory, as well as a lively forum populated by some of the top minds in the building-science community. 

7. Renovating an old house? Old House Journal has been serving the restoration crowd for years and remains a great resource. 


8. Need to know what the new building codes specify before you start work? Go here or here.  


9. Need to draw a design? The easiest design program, SketchUp, is also free, and it's lots of fun. 


10. Everyone probably knows this one, but I'll put it in anyway: Houzz. If nothing else, it's a good place to troll for ideas. 


posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, green building, remodeling, restorations, sources
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