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Add gables
We're considering buying an older bungalow that needs some sprucing up of the exterior. Presently the roof is just a straight line all across the front, and we would like to make it more interesting by adding a gable over the garage and another over the front entrance.    Rachael D. Ottawa, Canada
Asbestos concerns
The house beside me is being renovated (nearly completed now). It is a very old house made of fibro sheets. When being removed these sheets were smashed into, not carefully removed by men not wearing protective gear. I watched in horror as broken pieces fell onto the ground. I have spent weeks with exposed pieces poking through garbage bags, as the means of wrapping them up...... What can I do and has my and my family's health been compromised. thank you    Lynne B. Brisbane, Australia
Asbestos house
Just made an offer on an house in Sale Victoria 3850, when a friend put forward the asbestos issue.   Betsu E. Sale, Australia
Asbestos house renovation.
I have an old Fibro asbestos house which we want to tart up the outside.   Kim Perth W. Australia
Asbestos siding cleaning
I have another question for you. My wife and I decided to keep the asbestos siding on our house but we want to paint it. What is the best and safest way to clean it before we paint?   Robert K. Horsham, United States
Asbestos siding painting
Following on from the question about asbestos siding cleaning I have added this extra few tips on painting the siding.   Robert K. Horsham, United States
Asbestos Tilux.
Was there a cut off date that asbestos was used ? How can I tell whether this does in fact contain asbestos ? I have spoken to various people and have been given a difference of opinion.   Neil F. Australia
am about to sell a house, built in the 1950s, clad in fibrous cement sheeting. I have been informed that it may not necessarily contain asbestos. Could this be the case? It is made up of strips of overlapping "weatherboard" look alike material which is quite thick and strong.   Hilary N. Scone : Australia
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Bar chairs
Please can you tell me about bar chairs for a raft foundation. It's not the usual thing I do, but the client was caught for time. I can see them on the plans but don't know anything about them.   Shane M, Cork : Ireland
Block starter bars
My problem is - some of the rebar was positioned wrong when the monolithic slab was poured - some of them don't sit inside a cell. I've been told to bend them and chip a piece off the bottom of the block but my question is; how do I best re bend the rebar   Fintan Mc. Bonifay, FL : United States
Bricklaying question
Do you know bricklaying? I am considering, to add new part to existing building within the land of the house.    O. E Malacca Malaysia
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Cheap steps
What do you rekon might do for handrail and stair? I rekon if a pulldown ladder is ok for a ceiling storage then something like a fixed ladder might do here too?   Leigh Mac. the marsh, Australia
Concrete footings wet season
Builder insists building the footings in the wet is ok. We are adamant about doing the work in the dry season. Would you advise as to whether or not we will be buying long term problems if we let him build in the wet?    James Mc. Jubail, Saudi Arabia
Concrete slab stumps
I want to build a very simple house on flat land. I am thinking of making it round...spent my life in square rooms. Would like to spend the remainder of it in something different..with a radius of about 6 to 7 metres. Planning on having the inside more or less open plan, maybe a couple of walls for a bedroom and bathroom.   Stuart Melbourne Australia
Concrete steps
I want to build a concrete stair in the form of timber stair without the stringer. The steps are supported by a concrete block on the middle of the steps. So the steps appear floating .   Surya W. Jakarta, Indonesia
Concrete timber treads
Old concrete steps above a wooden deck. How do I go about covering them over with new wooden steps?   Kerry B. New Zealand
Condensation problem
Corrugated iron join
How do you join corrugated iron (orb)when two angles are involved as in an Australian Barn design? The apex angle is 22.5 deg. joing to the leanto at 12 degrees. At what distances do you place the corresponding purlins?   Howard L. Warrnambool. Australia
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Deck building
I am planning to build a deck out the back of my house. We are on bushfire prone land so the council wants everything non combustible.   Matt S Australia
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Efflorescence in slab
Regarding efflorescence: A Client calls and says small pyramids 13-18mm high appear on the hearth (floor level, slab)I am thinking that its water source is subteranian induced by poor permiter drainage outside   Scott C. Olivehurst, US
Extend sun room
im thinking of building a small extension on to the rear of my house, i have a sunroom which runs two thirds the way accross the rear and im looking to just continue to gable end. im a fairly hands on guy with plenty of contacts for materials, i try to do almost any work that comes my way with fairly good results , never tackeled an extension , i was wondering would you recommend me giving it a go   Austin E. Celbridge Ireland
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Fixing newel posts
I have been looking at how to fix bottom newel posts to give a rock solid newel and cannot see a definitive answer to fixing the bottom newel when you have a concrete floor. Obviously the best fixing would be to lap it over an existing floor joist but if you have a concrete floor obviously there isnt one. In the case of concrete floors is it just a case of morticing out the newel around the string and adjacent stair parts.... would you include a locating pin anchored in the concrete/bottom of newel for extra rigidity in the lateral planes?   neil H. Watford, UK
Fixing skylight
I am installing a skylight on a roff with galvanize...the one with the wide ridge. There is no information on the net as to how to do this to prevent leaks. Can you help here. the skylight is of the self flashing type.   Rahamut M. Freeport, Trinidad and Tobago
Fixing to steel
I'm trying to drill into a thick metal lintel to put up a curtain pole & blind. I have a high speed drill bit & a cordless drill. I hardly seem to be making a dent in the metal. Do you have any tips? I    Sarah UK
Floor requirements
hi i am a construction/design student and i have been looking for functional requirements for floors and i cant find them anywhere! I dont know if you will be able to help but i thought I'd try. Yours thankfully sarah   Sarah H. Derby UK
Formwork step
My problem is how to build shuttering for a raft foundation for my single skin double garage. The slab has been drawn with an outside step for the brickwork to sit on. (300mm x 300mm) with another 300mm below. If that makes sense? How do I construct the shuttering to get the concrete in the right place?   Dave W Wakefield, UK.
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Gable roof
We recently purchased a small rancher and want to have a front porch installed. The rancher has a hip roof and we are having issues about how to place the new roof to the hip roof    Joe and Teresa Philadelphia, PA. USA
Garden shed concrete
need to put down a 3m x 3m x100mm slab for a garden shed. First off I have never done any concreting ever. I am handy with tools and car repair,but can you let me know how to set out and level for my slab.   Doug B. Brisbane, Australia
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Hand mixed concrete
If I were pouring a column at 2.4m tall by 400mm square is it possible to do this by mixing batches continually in a cement mixer say a 3cuft model?    Matt S Australia
Hexagonal roof
.We are having troubles as to how you combine a hexagonal roof with a basic hip style roof.   Sherry Canada
High ceilings
Had thought about putting in 9ft (2700mm)ceilings throughout but am now thinking about making them 9 1/2 ft high (or 2850mm). (We will be having 2 completely separate living areas for noise/heat control etc) Have you got any ideas as to how much more expensive it would be. I realize it would be up to the builder I choose, but I thought you might have an idea.   Margaret P. Port Sorell, Tasmania, Australia
Hinge bound doors
I am trying to fix a set of double french doors with a transom (installed by others). The doors will not stay closed....The doors are "hinge sprung" . What do i do to correct this problem? Thank You jeff   Jeff Canada
Hip roof addition
Hi! We have a traditional ranch style home with a hip roof. I would like to put a porch across the front of the house but my hubby says that it cannot go the full span because of the hip roof. I think it is possible. Could you help?   Connie N. Loogootee, IN. USA
House extension
I am an owner builder in Sydney with a 1920's brick and tile single storey home. The house is L-shaped with a hip roof on each longitudinal part of the 'L'. I want to extend out inside of 'L' to make the house essentially a square in footprint with an additional room.   Steven N Sydney Australia
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Lap or cut roof sheets
My question is, will it be better to cut one sheet down to size to make it fit or to overlap an extra corrugation on about 4 sheets to get it to length.    Michael Melbourn Australia
Leaking shower
Should we pry out the shower tiles and seal its wall before refixing the tiles and cut out the wall board of the moldy wall?   Zeny C, Algester, Qld : Australia
Long concrete stairs.
i need some advice on formwork for a set of concrete stairs with 2 landings and 3 runs. How do i brace this?   Jeff M. kamloops, BC, Canada
Loose ceramic tiles
My dad has just has his bathroom plastered and has painted the walls. He has started tiling and noticed that a few tiles if touched just fall off the wall. why is that and what can we do about it   Vicky J. Manchester, UK
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MDF concern
For many years now I have been using mdf indoors. The company that I was with didn't have a good ventalation system. Do you think I have any concerns?   Tim B. Thomasville NC : United States
MDF outdoors
I have been trying to find out if MDF is suitable for use outdoors? A builder said that he would use it for new gates to a covered area we are planning to have renewed at the side of our house but I am not convinced.   Chris R. United Kingdom
miter box improvement
I enjoyed your homemade miter box instructions, and have a couple of little suggestions:   Gid W. USA
movement cracks
I noticed a 45 degree line/wrinkly crack stretching from the corner of the top door jamb to the corner where ceiling and wall meet.    Chin L. Melbourne Australia
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New saw handle
I've been a joiner 30 years now and was interested to see your old panel saw. Looks exactly like mine with the broken bit (fell off a roof 25 years ago). I was trying to find a source to buy a new one, do they still make them?   David G. Argyll, United Kingdom
New saw handle
I've been a joiner 30 years now and was interested to see your old panel saw. Looks exactly like mine with the broken bit (fell off a roof 25 years ago). I was trying to find a source to buy a new one, do they still make them?   David G. Argyle, United Kingdom
New upper floor
I'd be interested to see a section on the basics of building up a level in an existing single story house.   Phill P. Sydney Australia
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Parquet floor
I am trying to put down a reclaimed parquet floor in heringbone style. Could you advise me how I can ensure that all lines are straight. I have encountered one small problem :- some of the blcks vary in size. Help   Euros W Denbigh : United Kingdom
Planter box wall
I am wanting to build a wall with cinder blocks that is 2' x 16'. What kind of mortar will I need and do I need to have a foundation? Will I need to use rebar like it shows in your picture. Do I really have to fill in the holes. I was wanting to use them as planters   Victoria S. Spencer, United States
post hole digger
Can you recommend to me a post-hole digger I could consider buying for home DIY use?    Chin L. Melbourne Australia
Propping wall
Hi Bill.Great site.My problem is finding the best solution to propping roof trusses.I am taking out existing windows and adding larger sliding doors etc.Ie making the opening larger.I have to add new bigger lintels and knock out a bigger opening on main load bearing wall.Can i prop on inside of wall under truss...will that be sufficeint?   Sid C. durban , South Africa
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Rafter birdsmouth
what is the purpose of the birdsmouth on a rafter?   Mark D. Australia
Rafter cuts
am building a 16 x 16 shed in my back yard. The roof pitch I would like to have is a 8/12. How do I get the measurement right in order to cut the board in the right place? I know how to cut the 8 at the top, that ties to the ridge but, I just can't figure out the measurement at the bottom or (notch cut).   Charles A Nashville. USA
Rafter length
Rancher extension
We are considering an addition on the back of our home which is a ranch style with a Cross Dutch(hip)Gable, it is T shaped. We want the addition to make the back of the house be straight across which would actually make the house look L shaped.   Cathy J. Puyallup, United States
Remove swimming pool
I don't want to pay 5 to 8 grand for someone to do it. Do you think a decent size electric jack hammer will work? I know it will take a while, but I need a summer project and I am very mechanically and safety minded. Please let me know what you recommend.   Jeff M. Phoenix, United States
Ridge length
Hi there bill, my question is: how to determine the length of what the ridge board is on a hipped roof?   Craig Mc. Cumnock United Kingdom
Roof load
We have had termites and I want to remove an internal all so I am interested in understanding how load is transferred into the walls. It looks to me like a hip roof transfers all the load to the external walls.   Peter M, Adelaide : Australia
Roof paint
"METAL ROOF PAINTING" What kind of paint sticks good to an old Metal roof. I have checked at a couple of local dealerships , and the really don't cary much roof paint in a color besides , the Aluminum style color.    Justin W. Bristol USA
Roof quantities
I am building a roof. trusses are 6/12 pitch. Wall to wall is 34 feet x 9 feet high. Trusses are 37 feet wide and the roof is 67 feet long. Overhang is included in measurements. Can you tell me how many sheets of plywood i would need. Can you tell me if I was rightby guesstimating about 82 sheets. Your help would be gteatly appreciated   John G. Timmins, Canada
Roof rise
Bill can you tell me that if i build a roof with 75x50 and the the roof is at 30 degrees then i build a roof with 150x50 at 30 degrees, will the two roofs have different rises because of different size timbers i'm using? will the 150x50 roof be slightly higher?   Craig Mc. cumnock, United Kingdom
Roof ventilator
My husband is a plumber. He has been asked by a couple who are renovating an old Queenslander to install an old fashioned roof ventilator on the home. It was made by a company in Brisbane and is identical to the type of ventilator that used to be installed on these old homes. We can find lots of photos and history about them but no instructions on how they were attached to the roof. Do you have any info that might help us?   Rita B. Townsville, Australia
Round House
I want to build a very simple house on flat land. I am thinking of making it round...spent my life in square rooms. Would like to spend the remainder of it in something different..with a radius of about 6 to 7 metres. Planning on having the inside more or less open plan, maybe a couple of walls for a bedroom and bathroom.   Stuart Melbourne Australia
Router collar
I am new to routing and new to making timber stairs but am just gearing up to both. I like the router jig but I did not quite understand the jig collar guide plate. Is this a stock item or must it be made? Thanks for your help.   Peter T. Durham, UK.
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I have a question regarding fitting colourbond ridge & hip flashing to a carport that I am building.    Geraint M. Perth W. Australia
Shed lumber sizes
I'm building a shed 30'(wide)x36'(long, and was planning on making rafter span 15'3", and peak at 5'. Is this enough peak, adn what kind of weight can 2"x6"x14' roughly support? I   Barry L. Trinity, United States
Shingle to metal roof
I am preparing to convert my roof from shingle to metal roof. What i am wondering is, does there need to be a sheathing on first of can i run it just on batton on the trusses? Or does it require OSB?   Kyle V. Kingston, Canada
Slab on blockwork
When using modular concrete blocks to support a suspended concrete slab, if a gap exists between the top of the block wall and the soffit of the slab is it acceptable to close this off with an inner form and pour a type of minor ring beam onto the wall?    David P. Brisbane, Australia
smoke hood
We are installing a smoke hood over a forge and have a round (400mm dia) chimney which will be going through a custom orb galvanised roof sheet. Your suggestion on flashing this to seal out rain would be appreciated.   Brian T. Hervey Bay, Country: Australia
Spiral concrete stairs
Currently I am searching for ideas ,photos,explanation re formwork for a concrete Helical staircase. Any idea,have checked several books,the internet with very little success.   Chris A. Haz-Zebbug, Malta.
Square hipped roof
We are currently looking at building a square hip roof shelter for our horses measuring 16X16. We have found information on how to brace a retangle hip roof at the center but not how to effectively brace a square one. Do we need a round metal bracing bracket for this size and if so could you tell us where to find it. If this is not needed we are not sure as to how to actually brace the center to make it structurally sound.    Linda Vero Beach, United States
Staining masonite door
Staining your Masonite door is a simple process that can achieve elaborate results. Three easy stages. Preparing, Staining, and Applying a top-coat, will allow you to increase both the aesthetics and value of your home.   Jonathan Hunt West Palm Beach US.
Stair riser gap
As I understand stair design, the BCA requires that the vertical gap between the top of one tread and the underside of the tread above (in an open stair) must not permit a 125mm ball to pass between the treads. What type of obstacle would you recommend to comply with this requirement?   Peter B. Gold Coast, Australia
Stair rule
Looking through the secton on stairs I was reminded of something that I got from my father and have used on more than a few ocassions. Essentially it is this; To setout a staircase that is comfortable to walk (or indeed climb)up you follow this formula.   Christopher E. Booyal (Pop approx 100) ,Australia
steel siding
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Termite damage
Hello I have a pitched roof with 8" overhang, the over hang has termite damage would like to change just the damaged wood how far back do I go on the cut, tips on hardness of the job thank-you.   John A. laguna beach ca, United States
Tilting Column
how the reinforcement is provided in a vertically tilted coloumn?   Arun S new delhi : India
Timber steel connection
Hi Bill i have just bought a 2 story queenslander & the house has H or I beams holding it up & also has the same beams as Bearers for a deck & was wondering how do you attach timber joists to the steel beams   Adrian D. Bundaberg Australia
Topping, waterproofing
topping, waterproofing and tiling. My main question is how long after the mortar base is laid, can you apply the waterproofing?   Mark Mc. Logan, Australia
Tropical building
I will soon be building in Belize--off grid, water catchment, etc. I must design a small house as efficiently as possible.   Chuck B. Merida, Mexico
Tropical ventilation
A question for you: do you ventilate the interior of the roof (i.e., between the corrugated and the ceiling) with your whirlybirds, the living space, or both? And are there rules of thumb for how much air you should be able to move, based on floor area,etc.)   Tim W. Toronto, Canada
Tubular skylight
I have seen two types of tubular skylights – ones with flexible tube, and ones with rigid tube. The rigid tube guys claim much better performance, but at 2x the cost. Do you have any comments?   Paul Queensland, Australia
Twisted door
The one I want to use for the kid's bathroom has about an inch wind in it - it sits proud of the jamb at the bottom on the lock side.   Mark A Canberra, Australia
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Wall flashing
Looking for info on fixing colourbond flashings at building corners when Trimdek used running vertically. Flashing attached to Trimdek itself, not to girts etc. All info I get from people (including Certifier) is "fix as per manufacturers specifications".    Phil Palmerston, NT, Australia
Wall flashing
Looking for info on fixing colourbond flashings at building corners when Trimdek used running vertically. Flashing attached to Trimdek itself, not to girts etc. All info I get from people (including Certifier) is "fix as per manufacturers specifications".    Phil Palmerston, NT, Australia
Waterproof deck
We're wanting to find out if we can put a 'roof' under an existing deck to make storage/work space underneath.    Liegh WM Bacchus Marsh , South Australia
what size footings
I have just started to dig the footings. My question is how deep and wide should they be. Also at the base of the footings do i lay a layer of hardcore.   Shawn G Broadstairs UK
Wooden slides lubricant
What type of lubricat can I apply to the slides where there is wood to wood contact to help binding? I was thinking of using a candle and rubbing it on the wood? Is Teflon spray suitable - if yes, can you please recommend a ny name brands?   Alun H. Houston, United States
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Zincalume roof
I need to choose a colour for a new roof for my house.   Anna B. Brisbane: Australia

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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