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20140123_stone_baseboard

Structural Crack Monitor

Here is an easy way to keep track of movements of concrete, stucco, flagstone, or any other material you can think of. Structural Puzzle One of our clients has a house that sits perched on a hill east of San Francisco. This area is prone to earthquakes, and soil on hills has a tendency to move. […]

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Toto Motorcycle Toiet

Flush Water-Saving Toilets After Each Use!

Now that an official drought has been declared in California, many people remind themselves that “When it’s yellow it’s mellow; when it’s brown flush it down.” That was fine and well during the days of toilets that used nine gallons of water to keep waste moving. With today’s modern toilets that use between one and two […]

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ventilation trellis

Curved Ipe Deck – Photos & Tips

Summer is getting closer, and decks are wonderful places to spend time outdoors. We have built many of them, mostly using redwood or cedar, and sometimes using composite material or hardwood. Just a few years ago, we crafted a curved ipe deck that became a true labor of love and one of our flagship projects. […]

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concrete_pad-forming

New Concrete Slab In Ten Easy Steps

It is about time we publish a hands-on, how-to, nuts & bolts article. Last week we poured a new concrete slab that is part of a larger remodeling project. The pad was made for a Jacuzzi hot tub that needed to be relocated. Ready? Here we go… (more…)

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outlet

How To Cut Existing Ceramic Tile For Fan Switch Or New Electrical Outlet

While replacing electrical wiring during a recent whole-house remodel, a fan switch had to be installed in a tiled bathroom wall. There were no spare tiles, so great care had to be taken to not cause cracks or other damage. With the right tools and a steady hand, here’s how to accomplish that task without […]

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Remodeled Bathroom

Smart Bathroom Remodel Starts In A Few Weeks!

In a couple of weeks, we will start a second floor bathroom remodel in a 1930’s Spanish-style home. We plan to cover this project from A to Z with video and stills, and will share tips and tricks of the trade. Here is a brief description of what will be happening. (more…)

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moneyfan

Irresponsible eHow Post Rewarded With Enviable Google Ranking

A few days ago, I was searching Google on the query ‘Second Story Deck’. I wrote two articles on deck building recently, and wanted to see the rankings. Lo and behold, guess what shows up on page 1 of the search results? Yep, an eHow post. (For the few of you not familiar with eHow, it […]

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View of San Francisco Bay as seen from 2nd story deck in Sausalito, California

How To Build A Second Story Deck With Tube Steel Posts

You would want one, too, if you lived in Sausalito with a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay. A stroke of luck for my company, several other builders were not willing to deal with steel deck supports. True, steel is far less forgiving than wood, yet that made this an interesting challenge. And who […]

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Wallpaper Removal Tools And Tips

Wallpaper Removal Tools And Tips Video

The walls of my friend Melinda‘s house have several layers of wallpaper. They ain’t pretty, and about a week ago she told me of her plans to get serious. She rented a wallpaper steamer, picked up some supplies, and a day later wallpaper was falling to the floor. Look around on the web a bit, and you […]

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Green Toilets, Saving Water, And Clogged Sewers

Green Toilets, Saving Water, And Clogged Sewers

For quite a few years now, the installation of so-called low flow toilets has been required by the Uniform Building Code. At 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), they use far less water than their older counterparts. Even greater water savings can be obtained by installing a so-called HET, or high efficiency toilet. (more…)

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Bathroom Fan Installation Tips

Bathroom Fan Installation Tips

We are in the middle of building a new bathroom in a friend’s basement. It is a small space that will house a sink, shower and a toilet.  Since there is no window to provide ventilation, the Uniform Building Code (UBC) — and common sense — suggest that a fan be installed. My friend picked […]

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