Recent comments

Re: Letter to the Editor: Financial burdens of complying with future building codes

I largely agree with the letter's observations about over-the-top regulation. The total costs of many so-called improvements are often not considered and can exceed the potential savings. While there is probably good in working toward net-zero (or better) buildings, the pace should be bound by reality.

My personal view is that there is much efficiency potential in smart upgrading of existing buildings, and that partial government subsidy with minimal red tape should be used to encourage it.

The issue of climate change is still unfolding. Past climate research shows that the northern hemisphere has been mostly covered by glaciers and that our civilization has developed during the latest period of warming. Such warm periods in the past have tended to last only about ten thousand years (putting us at the tail end of this one), with the switch to a hundred thousand years of cold and glaciers occurring in some cases in less than a lifetime. Just as we should be skeptical about over-regulation of building design, we would be wise to recognize the dangers of the current politicization of the climate debate. We need rational scientific and engineering research into the earth's environment and climate cycles with the long term goal of being able to avoid its extremes, both hot and cold.

Re: Choosing Trim Nailers: Which Gauge Finish Nailers Should You Own?

I also mainly use 18-ga for trim. Have found when doing trim removal that 15 or 16-ga nails have way more resistance to pulling out than is really needed to just keep trim in place. And they have the disadvantages when installing of larger hole and higher splitting probability.

Re: Sandpoint Efficient Cottage

This looks like a fine build of a good plan. Three questions:
1. Can you comment on the actual/relative construction cost?
2. What were the main "green" factors included?
3. Would you another time build the three-bedroom version?

Re: Shoring up a load-bearing wall

Ingenious idea - we tend to assume studs have to be plumb and therefore cut to exact length. However I would be leery of not fastening every stud top and bottom to prevent accidentally dislodging one or more - duplex nails are easy to remove as are screws. Perhaps you intend such fastening - it wasn't clear.

Re: Installing fixed windows

Really appreciate this detailed how-to. I like the idea of being efficient in the materials required as well as the implied energy efficiency.

Re: Putting a new window in an old brownstone

1. rather than "stuff" insulation in the voids, I would use low expanding foam. (Batt insulation loses R-value if compressed and as well does not stop air leakage well.)
2. unfortunately the diagram's text was too small to be readable