Garage Straightening 101

Here is a well illustrated article on straightening a leaning garage with a come-along (winch). I’ve used this technique on a garage with a much greater lean than this one with success. Other mounting methods such as a U-bolt and mounting the winch on the inside of the garage may be easier: ‘…a parallelogram can be forced back into a rectangle, if one diagonal (the longest diagonal) is pulled together. Also, the shorter diagonal could be pushed apart. Which method is chosen depends on the tools at hand. I happened to own a pair of 2 Ton cable winches (also called a “come-along”) as well as 6 Ton and 12 Ton hydraulic bottle jacks. I chose the weakest of my tools for the first attempt…’ Do this at your own risk, but it worked well for me.

Home Design/Floorplan/Estimating Softwares

Here’s a short summary of Home Design, Floorplan, Estimating softwares as well as some opinions:

Punch! (exclamation is part of the product name): website here is supposed to have a good floor plan builder with estimating built-in to the product. It has won numerous awards.

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Insulation in Hot, Humid Climates

Ever notice how This Old House and many publications are geared toward the Northeast? Well, here is an excellent PDF presentation by Building Science corporation on insulating in hot/humid climates like the South: ‘…Too much ventilation may even cause
damage by cooling off the top of the insulation. We have taken
cases where excess ventilation will cool the top surface of the
insulating material�So too much ventilation may be dangerous
just as well as too little…’
They also have Joe’s Top Ten List of dumb things to do in the South for buildings.

Discover: Robotic House Builder

Discover magazine has an article on a ‘Whole-House Machine’ which can build mortal walls among other things. Overrated? Maybe. Interesting? Definitely: …In a sunny laboratory at the University of Southern California, a robotically controlled nozzle squeezes a ribbon of concrete onto a wooden plank. Every two minutes and 14 seconds, the nozzle completes a circuit, topping the previous ribbon with a fresh one. Thus a five-foot-long wall rises�a wall built without human intervention.

The wall is humble but portentous. �If you can build a wall, you can build a house,�…

ICF’s: The Wave of the Present?

Integrated Concrete Forms (ICF) homes seems to be gaining momentum as an alternative to traditional stick building judging by the discussion on the owner-builder group. This method of building uses hollow foam blocks as forms that are filled with concrete and then left in place. The foam and concrete together can make for a very well insulated, quiet and strong home. There are many sources of information on this type of building such as The Portland Cement Association, books, manufacturers such as Eco-block, Polysteel, Reward, Arxx
and others. It will be interesting to see how widespread these homes will become.

12V DC Power Group

Editor of Energy Self Sufficiency Newsletter, Larry Barr, wrote in with: Since you like the Little Houses group, you may also be interested in the 12 VDC Power group which is dedicated to generating your own power and using it, and in Energy Self Sufficiency Newsletter, a monthly online FREE publication for those living off-grid and those who want to.’ Thanks Larry!
Update: There’s also the Green-trust for renewable energy sources.

Little Houses Group on Yahoo

Here’s an interesting group that discusses: ‘building and dwelling in living spaces that are
smaller than the typical homes being built today
Whether you are building your home yourself or
buying, designing from scratch or remodeling,
downsizing, or planning a starter house for
future expansions, this is the best place
to share your housing related thoughts.

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Book: Gutted : Down to the Studs in My House, My Marriage, My Entire Life

Here is a book recommended by Fine Homebuilding entitled: Gutted : Down to the Studs in My House, My Marriage, My Entire Life. Amazon says: ‘LaRose…and his wife, Susan, have just bought a “small toenail-yellow Cape Cod” on Long Island. The “hapless victim” of decades of “punishing” remodeling, this ruin of a house needs full-blown CPR, not TLC. As the couple navigates the Kafka-esque local planning commission’s permit process, they begin demolition�tearing off siding, pulling out asbestos and taking out walls.

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