Q: I hired a 20+ year veteran flooring pro to install red oak hardwood floors. After the install, I was told by a friend about expansion gaps needed around the perimeter to prevent buckling, etc. as humidity changes and the house settles, in New England. When I asked, the contractor said this was unnecessary because he had stored the wood for several weeks where it could … [Read more...] about Should I Acclimate Hardwood Flooring & Leave Expansion Gap?
Q: I am renovating and old home with an uninsulated, non-vented walk up attic built in 1848. The shingle roof is less than 10 years old. The simple gable roof has 2x6 rafters. I’d like to apply 2 in. of closed-cell foam and then install 3 ½ in. of R-15 rockwool and add an Intello “smart” vapor retarder. The finished ceiling will be1/2” nickel gap shiplap. Will this approach … [Read more...] about Combining Foam & Fiber Insulation in Cathedral Ceiling (Flash & Batt)
Q: Several roofing contractors have provided quotes to repair or replace our 30-year-old concrete tile roof. Some are saying we should replace the roof and others are recommending repair. With replacing there are so many material options that it is extremely difficult to determine which way to go. How can I get advice independent advice on what to do? -- Anthony A: … [Read more...] about Should I Repair or Replace an Older Tile Roof?
Q: I have an 8-year-old pressured-treated deck that has had a significant amount of wood decay mostly in the framing lumber, but also in some of the decking. The deck is about 5 feet off the ground. What is the normal life expectancy of treated decking? We used ACQ lumber for the framing and MCA-treated decking. -- Sam A: Up till the early 2,000s, most pressure-treated … [Read more...] about How Long Will Treated Wood Deck Last?
Q: We have a number of woodpecker holes in our wood fascia and corner boards and are looking for suggestions for how keep them away. The activity seems to be mostly in the spring when we often hear a loud rat-a-tat sound in the mornings. We’ve even caught sight of them in the morning. They seem to be downy or hairy woodpeckers, not the large pileated type. -- DH A: … [Read more...] about How To Prevent Woodpeckers From Damaging House
Q: How can you tell if land is too wet for a septic system? Can an area be covered with a tarp during the wet season to help it pass the perc test? -- K.G. A: Wet sites are challenging for septic system design and for home building in general. If the seasonal high water table is too close to the surface – less than three feet below the gravel trenches in the … [Read more...] about Septic Systems on Wet Sites
Q: What is the best way to attach a framing ledger to my brick veneer house? I’ve looked at the SimsonStrong Tie BVLZ connector but it is not approved yet in Ontario, Canada. I’m building a one-story addition with a low-slope roof that will attach to a two-story brick-veneer exterior wall. The floor joist ledger is attached directly to the foundation. I wish to attach a … [Read more...] about How to Attach Deck Ledger to Brick Veneer
Q: What’s the best way to air seal and insulate between a masonry fireplace and the surrounding wall? There is a lot of contradictory advise around about how to handle this. I will be installing a direct-vent gas insert with aluminum liners in my fireplace opening, so heat in the flue cavity will not be a big concern. The chimney material is cement block above the … [Read more...] about Air-Sealing Between Chimney & Framing