Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction: Materials, Finishes, and Details

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  • Daniel J. Friedman "www.inspect-ny.com" says:
    37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Building expert recommends Bliss’ Best Practices Guide, December 19, 2005
    By 
    Daniel J. Friedman “www.inspect-ny.com” (New York, USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction: Materials, Finishes, and Details (Hardcover)

    <h3>

    Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction – Steven Bliss</h3>

    Book review by Daniel Friedman

    Bernie Campbalik used to make a sucking noise through his teeth when he saw one of us do something sloppy on the jobsite or in his carpentry class. Bernie knew a lot about good construction practices, and he regularly pointed out that the foul-ups were often in the details. Mistakes or omissions led to trouble down the road. We were to avoid such goofs by recognizing them and fixing them on the job. But beyond that sucking noise that I heard a bit more than I wanted to, I remember Bernie’s description of his own first days working as a carpenter’s assistant.

    “The foreman would choose an 18′ 2×10, after eying several for straightness, cup, and bow. Then he would disappear around the corner of the building where we were working. He’d return in a few minutes with a pattern rafter and would hand it to me. ‘Here, …’ he’d growl as he handed it over, ‘dig into that pile over there and cut me 23 more like these.'”

    The foreman didn’t want Bernie to know how to layout a birds’ mouth cut or plumb cut. That little extra knowledge was what he figured was his edge, the data that assured his job as site foreman.

    And that has been a problem in construction. While most people who build do so out of a real love of the work, there is a tradition of “not sharing” the how-to details that make the difference between “good enough” and “good work.” Unlike his foreman, Bernie actually wanted us to know how to do it right. Not because he particularly liked us, but because he loved the work and wanted that to be right.

    Steve Bliss, with a combination of real-world on-the-job construction experience and a long career as a writer and editor for the Journal of Light Construction , Progressive Builder, and Solar Age has written a new book, <u>Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, Materials, Finishes, and Details</u>, which is full of details and product choices that make the difference etween “good enough” and “good work” – the stuff that all of us who build or have built homes wish we’d known sooner.

    <u>Best Practices</u> has a simple organization. It’s easy to find details can help the success of your construction project. Here are a few examples:

    <ol>

    <li>Exterior finish: a rain screen wall using Cor-A-Vent or folded insect screen at the bottom of a clapboard siding wall can keep out insects and still permit drainage. Text is accompanied by a photo suggesting installing siding over furring over the building sheathing. It’s a small detail, one of many, that addresses trapped moisture in buildings – a common source of insect damage, rot, or the current enviro-scare topics. Beyond concepts, such as “rain screen,” Bliss addresses sheathing wraps (house wrap), flashing membranes, wall flashing, and specific details regarding the installation of common exterior sheathings such as wood siding, wood shingles and shakes, vinyl siding, wood and composite trim. To go past theory and good ideas, the chapter also lists product suppliers and their websites or contact information. A product resource list is offered at the end of each chapter.</li>

    <li>Roofing: Bliss’s eaves details for metal roofing, such as remembering to include the rubber closure strip and to cap it with butyl tape address one of many omissions that at my building inspections I find have led to wind-blown rain or wind damage to the roofing. It’s a small detail that makes a big difference. Bliss includes details for the common roofing materials and systems such as asphalt shingles, clay, concrete, composite tile, metal roofing, low-slope roofing, and of course he addresses the vexsome specialty of roof ventilation.</li>

    <li>Windows and Doors: This huge topic is compressed to window types, materials and construction, energy efficiency, skylights, exterior doors. Picking an example almost at random, I came across the warning to avoid storing vinyl windows in a container, such as a trailer, or leaning them against a wall, “… as they can permanently deform.” It was just this condition that I came across recently at a property, and while I saw the defect, I was at a loss to explain how it happened.</li>

    <li>Decks and Porches: This chapter takes a look at framing and decking material choices, fasteners, construction details, and the notorious problem of rooftop decks, as well as covered/screened porches and deck finishes. After seeing a few terrifying deck collapses, both during and after construction (luckily not at my job sites), I was happy to see Mr. Bliss’s details about fastenings and connections, especially at post to beam and post to pier points. Bliss also offers some simple details for creation of and sealing at a deck to house-wall gap, one of the most-common leak and…

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  • sarayale "sara" says:
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent source of detailed information, May 1, 2008
    By 
    sarayale “sara” (Oakhurst, NJ) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction: Materials, Finishes, and Details (Hardcover)
    I am building a new house and wanted some detailed information on materials that would assist in all the choices I will be making. This book is so much better than the infomation you find that is intended for consumers, which is very lacking in details and substance. For example, you will find good information on the different types of construction for kitchen cabinets. This is of great assistance when having to choose a cabinet manufacturer. Instead of blindly comparing cabinets you can actually understand the quality you are getting. I would recommend this book to builders, homeowners who will build or renovate, and architects.
    You are much better off spending on this book than most of the home maganzines, with the exception of Fine Homebuilding which is the best I have found for real infomation.

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  • Christopher Kiley says:
    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    An excellent book!, June 6, 2006
    By 
    Christopher Kiley (Newtonville, MA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction: Materials, Finishes, and Details (Hardcover)
    I think this is an excellent book! The material is very thoroughly researched and well presented with many illustrations. I was very please to discover that it even includes a chapter on kitchen and bath design. I would highly recommend this anyone involved in residential construction; carpenters, contractors, designers, architects and homeowners.

    Christopher Kiley

    (carpenter, woodworker and architect)

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