Most Popular from All Topics

Slabs for Colder Climates, Part 1: The How and Why of Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations

Written by

As energy savings and the conservation of resources increasingly drive decision-making for homebuilders, frost-protected shallow footings offer a good method for constructing slab-on-grade foundations.

As a builder constructing townhouses, commercial buildings, and the occasional slab-on-grade (SOG) house in frigid Nebraska, I always thought it silly to dig footings half as deep as a full basement when the point of SOG construction was to spend less on foundations. A basement seemed the better value, to me, given that only token cost savings came with a slab ... until one year, while attending the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders' Show, I heard a lecture on a new (at least for me) approach to constructing slabs in northern climates that did not require footings to extend below the frost line. I immediately perked up and listened closely; it sounded like a good cost-saving measure.

Slabs for Colder Climates, Part 2: Installing Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations for Heated Buildings

Written by

Contractor-turned-homebuilder Fernando Pages Ruiz gives hands-on instruction for constructing frost-protected shallow foundations.

Because moisture in soil can create an "ice lens" – an area where ice crystals form and bulge, exerting vertical pressure – building footings have traditionally penetrated deeper than the maximum seasonal frost penetration in any given climate to prevent these vertical forces in frozen ground directly under the footings from lifting the foundation and damaging the structure. In many areas, frost depth exceeds 42", resulting in footings far deeper than those needed structurally.

How to Install a Glass Shower Enclosure

Written by

After tile, one of the most challenging jobs in building a custom shower is installing a glass shower enclosure. There are many options for shower enclosure systems, but to work properly the enclosure has to fit the shower precisely. This often necessitates hiring a professional to fabricate and install a system based on the specific dimensions of your custom shower. However, there are glass shower enclosure systems available that any savvy do-it-yourselfer can install with a few basic hand tools and a little know-how. Join our host, Jeff Wilson, as he demonstrates how to complete a custom shower with a glass enclosure system.

How to Install Kitchen Base Cabinets

Written by

Cabinets are a fundamental part of any kitchen. Kitchen cabinets not only provide storage, but they define spatial organization and workflow for one of the most used spaces in a home. As such, cabinets are a focal point of every kitchen, and proper installation is essential to both aesthetic and functional qualities. The cabinets need to be square, level, and secure so doors and drawers operate properly and provide stable support for the countertops and fixtures. With the right tools and a little patience, installing kitchen cabinets is a project any do-it-yourselfer can handle. Join our host, Jeff Wilson, as he installs new base cabinets for a small kitchen.

Zaha Hadid's Library and Learning Center

Written by

Perhaps no building type has changed more in the past generation than the university library. Enormous book collections, once the organizing feature of these buildings, have lost their prominence as scholastic resources. Today’s college students, having grown up using the Internet, have little patience for a warren of "stacks" and laborious searches through printed materials. Therefore, a building prototype that was traditional, monumental, and static has given way to a new, more fluid style.The dynamic form created by Zaha Hadid to house the new Library and Learning Center for the University of Economics and Business in Vienna, Austria, makes a definitive statement regarding the contemporary function of a scholarly library.

Countertops 101

Written by

Which kind of countertop should you get? Our guide will help you to decide which of today's most popular countertop materials will best work for your style, budget, and habits.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

Written by

Laminate flooring has become a very popular choice for do-it-yourselfers due to the fact that it’s economical, durable, and easy to install. Several varieties of laminate wood flooring are available, offering consumers a vast array of aesthetic choices. Most laminate flooring products share similar characteristics: a pressed wood base; a durable, adhered laminate finish; and a self-locking tongue and groove system. These systems typically do not require fasteners or adhesives – they just lock into place, basically “floating” above the subfloor. Join the At Home channel host, Jeff Wilson, for a tutorial on installing a laminate floor.

Metal Stud Track Layout and Shoot-Down

Written by

Contractor to Contractor: Follow professional Interior Contractor Robert Thimmes as he produces a layout and final shoot-down of a metal stud track system.

Plumb, level, square, and straight: all carpentry is the same, right? Well, no. Basic building principles apply, but how you build with metal studs differs greatly from building with wood. The following discussion offers a systematic explanation of installing metal studs, with various best practices for each step.

How to Install a Ceramic Tile Floor

Written by

Ceramic tile is a common choice among flooring materials, especially for kitchens and bathrooms. It comes in so many types, colors, textures, and sizes that the design possibilities seem unlimited. Despite this wide variety of design options, the installation of a ceramic tile floor typically follows a series of basic steps, and ceramic tile can be laid over just about any type of subfloor. It is a project that many DIYers can accomplish with a few tips and a little patience. Join our host, Jeff Wilson, as he demonstrates how to install a ceramic tile floor.

Cellular PVC Trim: The Durable Aesthetic Option

Written by

Coil Wrap vs. Cellular PVC Trim
Exterior trim is an essential component of a home's appearance and resale value. More importantly, it provides protection from moisture at corners and around window and door openings, where material transitions occur. Traditionally, exterior trim has been made of wood due to its low initial cost, ease of installation, and familiarity as a building material. However, several materials are available as a replacement for wood trim, including coil wrap and cellular PVC trim.

Page 2 of 65