Archive for June, 2007

Yes, Call them Back

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Okay, so it's been a month since your project was complete.

They finished the checklist, and you cut them the last check. The General Contractor (GC) drove away and you breathed a big sigh of relief and exhaustion.

But about two weeks later you noticed a problem.

(more…)

The Scourge of Under-sized Joists

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Joist – the large beams that give the strength to your floor system.

Scourge – A source of widespread dreadful affliction and devastation such as that caused by pestilence or war.

Okay, okay, that's probably an overstatement, but it makes the point:

Never, never skimp on joist sizes to try to save money. In fact, I strongly urge you to go up to the next larger size from what is recommended.

My story for today is really heartbreaking.

(more…)

“Workers are Smoking on the Site of my Remodel or New Home. What do I do?”

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Today I was installing a kitchen in a lovely new custom home across town.

At some point I became aware of cigarette smoke coming from the painters. Sure enough, some of them were smoking.

Now, I don't know the homeowners very well, but I feel that I know them well enough to know that they don't smoke. Yet I noticed that, when they visited the house today to check on progress, they didn't say anything about the smoking. Why not? Isn't it a well-established fact that smoke lingers in the porous materials of a house, meaning that the house will have a hint of smoke residual from the month-or-two of construction crew smoking? (more…)

Steel Beams in Remodeling

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

If you've ever used a steel beam in a remodeling project, then you may consider yourself an advanced practitioner of the trade.

Probably most homeowners aren't aware that steel can be the best choice for a support beam in a remodel project, especially in this age of impressive LVL joists.

But steel beams can make things possible which otherwise could not have been. This is because the density of steel is somewhere around 20x that of wood, and its strength per weight greatly exceeds wood.

Probably the most common situation where steel is used would be when a load-bearing wall must be removed, yet the support must be provided by a member that is very shallow. This is a very typical situation with old houses whose joists may be a true 2×6 or even 3×6, so we only have 6 inches of height to provide support to the ends of many joists. In this case, only steel provides a solution which satisfies the structural and aesthetic requirements.

Here's the view with the studs and joists exposed from the lower floor:

old-wall.JPG (more…)