927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

Insulation Retrofit for an Existing Concrete Slab and 2×4 Walls

Energy retrofits are always challenging. They are a delicate balance between what to keep, what to eliminate, and what to add. That’s what we were facing on this recent project. The existing structure had 2×4 walls 16 in. o.c. and a turn-down concrete slab foundation. We stripped the building down to the studs by removing the exterior fiber-board sheathing and interior gypsum board. With naked 2×4 walls and an exposed slab, we started the retrofit.  The first step was to insulate the slab, which was positioned significantly above exterior grade. We spec’d 2-in. polyisocyanurate rigid insulation. Because the existing slab…


Sleek Hardware from Starchitect David Adjaye, Courtesy of Izé

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What to Know Before Upgrading Your Garage Door

Shown: Steel pulls and X-bracing simulate the look of swing-out carriage doors. Coachman door, $4,300; Clopay This article appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of This Old House Magazine. Click here to learn how to subscribe. They’re battered by the elements, assaulted by basketballs, and commanded to perform their disappearing and reappearing act countless times each week. When, after decades of service, a garage door stops working well—or looking good—you can take comfort in the fact that a new one is among the best investments you can make, allowing you to recoup nearly 95 percent of the cost when you…


Google Eases Rules for Smart Home Developers

The Google Nest thermostat was a favorite for smart home developers until 2019, when the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary tightened the rules and made it harder to integrate the Nest into smart home networks. As The Los Angeles Times reported at the time, the decision to stop supporting an Application Program Interface, or API, called Works With Nest made it difficult for developers to work Nest into their smart home networks. As a result, builders who had been adding the thermostats to their properties stopped buying them. Google later clarified its plans and said it would be possible for third-party developers…


How to Load and Use a Grease Gun

If you own a tractor, zero-turn mower, utility trailer, boat trailer, motorcycle, or heavier piece of equipment like a loader, excavator, or dump truck/trailer you have fittings that need to be greased so they operate properly, but perhaps most importantly, do not fail during use and save you from costly repairs and wasted time. Learn Where the Fittings Are If you’re operating equipment commercially (even if that’s just a weekend lawn route), it is in your best interest to learn where all the fittings are on your machine(s) and to make sure they’re properly lubed. It’s minutes and pennies pro-action…


Giveaway: Enter to Win a Sawkille Drink Stool (Worth $1,100)

We’ve been following Sawkille Co., the makers of heirloom-quality hardwood furniture in upstate New York, since way back in 2010, when their impeccably made wares first came to our attention. Over the course of a decade, we’ve admired the way Sawkille takes heritage-inspired forms and makes them distinctly fresh feeling in their no-waste workshop in Kingston, NY. As Fan wrote in one 2019 post, their designs, from benches and tables to drawer pulls and cutting boards, “feel both surprising and relevant.” This winter, we’re partnering with Sawkille for a limited-time giveaway: Enter here and follow Sawkille Co. on Instagram at…

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