Q: With a cable railing system, do you have to install a wood railing at the top going post to post? Or would cable only be OK? I cannot find any guidance online. I have seen it done both ways in the field, but not sure what code requires for top railings on decks. -- Baron A: The International Residential Code (IRC) distinguishes between a handrail and guardrail or “guard” … [Read more...] about What Does Code Require for Top Railing on Decks?
Q: I had some moisture in my basement this winter--got onto the carpet foam and made a mess. I removed some drywall to see if there was a leak, but the only obvious issue is wetness on the vapor barrier directly behind the drywall and dampness in the drywall as well (see photo). Any ideas how to deal with this? The foundation and fiberglass insulation appear to be … [Read more...] about How To Diagnose Leakage In Finished Basement?
Q: During wind driven heavy rain, I get water coming in at the top of several windows. The single-story ho me is sheathed in plywood that is cover in poly sheeting. I removed the top outer trim on top of a leaking window and found no water behind the trim or on the exterior portion of the metal window frame. The water appears to be coming down the sheathing BEHIND the poly. … [Read more...] about Why Is Water Leaking Above Windows?
Q: I am redoing my wood floor balcony by sloping it, using a little dry pack mortar and then waterproofing the surface using Henry BlueSkin (peel-and-stick butyl membrane roof flashing). Can I apply thinset directly to the BlueSkin? I would like to use this as a waterproof barrier and cement the backer board on top of it. Then set the tile on the backerboard. The photo … [Read more...] about How to Tile Over a Wood Deck
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?