Issue 289 – Feb/Mar 2020
MDF Window Returns
This stronger, bench-built alternative to drywall returns gives windows a modern look with more rigidity and water resistance than gypsum wall board.
Rammed Earth: Creating a 500-Year House
A design-build team demonstrates the durability of an ancient material.
Dead-Flat Bathroom Floor
When the floor has to look perfect, but existing conditions are anything but, a dry-pack mortar bed can save the job.
Crash Course in Control Layers
You need to carefully manage water, air, vapor, and temperature in order to build a home that is durable and comfortable.
Net Zero-Ready Community
High-performance, affordable homes characterize this modern pocket neighborhood.
Best New Construction Tools
STAFDA's annual convention is the highlight of the year for tool aficionados like senior editor Patrick McCombe. Here are some of his favorite finds from the 2020 show.
Fine Homebuilding Issue #289 Online Highlights
Here are the digital extras from Fine Homebuilding’s March 2020, Issue #289: On page 8 of issue #289, we featured a number of online extras and urged readers to check…
Easy-Clean Putty Knife
Cover the blade with packing tape to make cleanup super simple.
No-Scratch Metal Bucket
Adding a plywood bottom keeps floors safe from scratches when using a bucket as a tool caddy.
Road-Ready Construction Documents
A piece of PVC pipe prevents documents and building plans from being damaged by water and tools.
Improvised Hammer Loop
When you have no tool belt, use a scrap of 12-ga. electrical wire.
Half of a lid from a plastic bucket stores multiple blades on the wall of your shop or work van.
Diamond Blade and Rigid Foam
A diamond-bit masonry blade creates a cleaner, easier cut than scoring with a knife.
Pitch Block for Stair Stringers
An alternative method for laying out stairs without a framing square.
Tips & Techniques
Guardrails vs. Handrails: Where Do You Need Them?
While they're both found on typical staircases, porches, and decks, guards and handrails have different purposes and code requirements.
Know the Code
Real Cordless Worm Drive
Skilsaws new saw promises to cut all day on one battery charge, with more power than a corded version.
Roof Sheathing Rack
The PlyScaf storage rack puts sheathing where you need it on the job site.
New tool offerings include an angle grinder, an oscillating multitool, and a mobile workshop.
Water-Free Tile Saw
The iQ Power Tools tile saw cuts dry, with an integrated dust-collection system that also cools the blade.
Quiet and Capable Compressors
Three low-profile models from Makita are the quietest heavy-duty compressors on the market.
Xtremely Nice Drivers
DeWalt's Sub-Compact Series offers five powerful tool designs to fit in tight spaces.
Easy-Swap Grinder Accessories
The new Bosch X-Lock system allows you to change grinder accessories with just one click.
DeWalt's new cordless circular saw is designed for an easier reach across panel products.
Safer Scaffolds for Quick Jobs
The WorkSafe line of fall-protection equipment satisfies safety requirements and is easy to use on small jobs.
Smooth Rolling Saw Guide
The SkatePlate moves without effort, prevents scratches to material, and fits almost any saw on the market.
Tools & Gear
Removing the mansard roof and exposing the original structure beneath brought new life to this waterfront home.
A number of cost-saving measures results in a well-organized farmhouse and separate guest dwelling built on a tight budget.
An exposed steel moment frame meets code requirements, allowing for a large open kitchen and dining-room space.
HOUSES by Design
Masonry Walls with Modern Style
These breeze blocks by Villa Lagoon Tile are perfect for creating contemporary privacy screens and accent walls that let in plenty of air and light.
Wood Siding: Burnt, Brushed, and Burnished
Pioneer Millworks offers a wide range of finishes in their line of Shou Sugi Ban–a Japanese method for charring wood siding to preserve it.
Boral TruExterior composite skirtboards blend right into the clapboards above and are impervious to water damage.
Expanding Foam Tape
Hannoband creates a tight air-seal around windows, eliminating the need for spray foam or liquid sealant.
The Wood Look
Interceramic's Black Forest line of rectified porcelain floor tile is moisture and scratch resistant, and looks just like hardwood.
Why Hand Tools?
The increasing number of power tools on the market make building easier, but learning how to work without them can make you a better builder.
Keep Craft Alive: Clay Chapman, Mason
This mason leverages traditional techniques to build sustainable, affordable brick homes that provide a solution to today's modern building challenges.