Archives: Structure

Drainage Plane for Cedar Shingle Siding

By Todd Fratzel on Siding & Trim, Structure

Extend Siding Life with Drainage Planes Cedar siding is beautiful and sure does make a statement architecturally but it comes with a serious price tag. So using methods and products that extend the life of such a big investment is important to me as a builder and you as a customer. The market offers many…

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How To Build Wood Countertops

By Todd Fratzel on Finish Carpentry

Make Your Own Wooden Countertops Wood countertops are beautiful and add a warmth that other materials have a hard time matching. While not suitable  for extremely wet conditions there are situations like island counters, bars, and serving hutches that make great sense for wood countertops. In this article I want to share my recent experience…

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Save Money On Interior Trim

By Todd Fratzel on Finish Carpentry

Buying Pro Paks at The Home Depot Saves Money Whether you’re building an entire new home or just doing a renovation the material costs are enough to make any grown man cry! While our economy has been anything but inspiring, the cost of building materials has continued to climb without regard to our stagnant economy.…

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Benefits of Exterior Foam Insulation

By Todd Fratzel on Insulation

Exterior Foam Insulation I’ve been a huge proponent of using foam board insulation to insulate basements, rim joists, and difficult locations like under bay windows. Recently we’ve been starting to install foam insulation board on the outside of houses for increased R value, decreased air infiltration, and better overall vapor management. Over the last few…

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WoodTrac Ceiling System Review

By Todd Fratzel on Basements, Finish Carpentry

WoodTrac Ceiling System I’m a huge proponent of using suspended ceilings (drop ceilings, acoustic tile ceilings) for finished basements because they allow easy access to electrical, plumbing and heating utilities that are typically suspended from the floor framing above.  Lots of my customers cringe when I make this suggestion because they don’t like the appearance…

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Walk-Out Basement Wall Insulation

By Todd Fratzel on Insulation

Insulating Wood Framed Walk-Out Basement Walls Walk-Out foundations create an interesting dilemma in when considering wall insulating details. I’ve written extensively on the subject of how to properly insulate basement walls which deals with concrete (and block) walls but I’ve never addressed the occasional wood framed walk-out walls that exist in some many homes today.…

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Outdoor Timber Pavilion by Western Timber Frame

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping, Structure

Timber Frame Pavilion Project Outdoor living spaces have become one of the most popular landscaping projects for home owners looking to expand their yards and gain useful spaces to entertain and relax. Last Spring we started an extensive year long outdoor living project including a custom patio with built-in fire pit, retaining wall, outdoor pavilion,…

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Vinyl Siding Leaks – Period!

By Todd Fratzel on Siding & Trim

Understanding The Limits of Vinyl Siding Today as I was driving home for lunch I passed a new home under construction and witnessed something that really bothered me. A contractor was installing vinyl siding on a new home that was sheathed with OSB. However, there was one very crucial detail missing that really bothered me.…

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