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The Journal of Light Construction‘s website features a great slideshow on what happens when a determined homeowner wants to expand their place and can’t go up or out.  In this case they went down –- 11 feet and 300 cubic yards of dirt worth of down, to be more exact.

Though this wouldn’t work for everyone, the large-scale subterranean home project did turn out pretty well, from what can see of the pictures.  The new floor space must have added about thirty percent more square footage to their home, but they’re betting that the bracing will support the house above — not a maneuver we’d recommend for the faint of heart.

Adding Under [JLC Online]


When the folks at JLC first told me about their Archive DVD, I was very skeptical. I figured there couldn’t possibly be a good reason for the $100 price tag, and that whatever was on it wouldn’t be worth the green. Then we got our hands on one. As it turns out, I was wrong. Not just wrong: screeching nails on a chalkboard wrong. Read on to find out why.

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The good folks at JLC have put together a list of best innovative Products for 2007, and it’s packed with products designed to help you work smarter, faster, and better.  Author Patrick McCombe goes breaks it down:

We’re constantly on the lookout for building products that can save time, improve work quality, and increase profitability. No doubt you are, too. But we have an advantage: a mailbox permanently packed with press releases from manufacturers eager to tout the benefits of their merchandise. While many products don’t live up to the hype, others strike us as genuinely useful. Here’s a roundup of products and tools that we think might help you run a better business.

The list gives a rundown of everything from drywall fasteners to belt sanders with a desription of why they made the list and what makes them “best in show” so to speak.

Best Products List For 2007 [JLC Online]


There’s no substitute for experience,  but if you don’t have a clue where to start with a construction project, you can buy one: JLC’s Tips and Techniques book.  JLC’s experienced construction gurus who give you the low down on handling tricky situations in practical, no nonsense formats.

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JLC online posted a sweet article on flashing recessed windows so they don’t leak.  This may not seem like a big deal, but Gene Summy says it’s not as simple as it looks.  He writes:

For years now, recessed windows — which mimic the appearance of traditional Southwestern adobe architecture — have been popular in Western states like California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Now the trend is moving eastward.  Unfortunately, a recessed window — which is typically set anywhere from 2 to 12 inches into the framing —  is very difficult to flash properly.  I know because my company has been investigating and repairing leaky recessed window openings in Southern California ever since they started showing up on new construction projects 10 years ago.

Gene goes on in the article to run down the steps for properly preparing an opening with pre-formed corners and layered flashing to prevent leaks.  There are a bunch of great pictures as well and a diagram or two to help illustrate the technique.  It’s a good read for anyone considering recessed windows.

Flashing Recessed Windows [JLC Online]


Greg DiBernardo over at JLC online wrote a great article on drywall finishing for small projects.  His through rundown lists everything from what tools you need to how to get the best finish fast without snapping clean through your budget. He writes:

“As a self-employed remodeler, I often take on small interior projects that require hanging and finishing no more than a few sheets of drywall.  Since I’ve never found a drywall contractor who would show up to do these small jobs, I’ve learned how to get them done myself.  I’m nowhere near as efficient as a professional finisher, so I still sub out the big jobs.  But when I’m remodeling a bathroom or a small kitchen, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to wait on someone else for the drywall.  Also, these rooms get closer visual scrutiny than most; I like being confident when I put down the sanding pole that the walls are perfectly smooth.”

If you’re considering a remodel or teardown of a room in your casa, stop by and check out Greg’s article.  It’ll save you some time and cash.

Drywall Finishing For Small Jobs [JLC Online]