Q&A / 

What is the biggest danger to a house? Wind, poor soil, bad foundation? No, it's water. Water damage can weaken a house structure to the point of collapse.

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Do you know how to frame a house? Frame a house is major project. Whether framing an interior wall or a whole house framing, these wall framing basics will make your framing project a success.

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Framing basement walls is a challenge when working on slabs poured over expansive clay bentonite soil. The walls need to float so they are not squeezed if the soil expands and pushes the wall upwards. There is a very simple trick that solves the problem and allows you to build strong walls that can move upwards, but not tilt over.

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A raised floor system versus a slab on grade home may cost a little more but that is nothing compared to the benefits of building with raised access floors. Concrete slab homes do not have the curb appeal that a raised floor system does. You may find that you pay less for insurance if you live in a flood plain.

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The gravel or sand base beneath concrete, flagstone, blacktop, or any other finish material must often be very accurate. If you have too much base material in place, the finish material can be too thin. If you have too little base material in, you can waste expensive concrete or worse yet, come up short! You can learn quickly how to install and level sand or gravel by reading this column.

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Rehab of an older home can be a daunting task. You need to make a list of some of the challenges you face. Your fixer upper may take some financing. It will definitely take tools, lumber and fixtures of many types. Talk with others who have rehabbed houses to get their input.

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Building stairs was a difficult task. I have a method for you to build perfect, simple steps. Your interior staircase will be a favorite project.

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The size of studs used in exterior walls, coupled with additional insulation can be highly energy saving. You can determine the possible payback by understanding heating degree days.

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Interior framing with steel wall studs when your house  first goes up will help the finish carpenters as they move to framing the interior walls. Steel will not change shape and cause wavy walls. Have your rough carpenter install scrap lumber blocking to the steel, and hanging cabinets and wall fixtures will be a snap!

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