The hardest part of building stairs is figuring out how to cut the notches in the stringers, which are the angled support boards that hold everything together.
Originally, the deck on this house could only be reached by walking through the house.
We removed part of the handrail and built a small extension to the deck, and supported it with long 4x4 posts. Then we cut 4 stair stringers from 16-foot 2x12s and anchored them with 2 pairs of 4x4 posts set deep in the ground.
While rebuilding the deck we installed handrail posts and a maintenance-free railing system.
Whenever I need to build something with repeating elements, such as a fence or handrail, the engineer in me wants to create a jig to simplify layout and guarantee accuracy.
Also See: Index of Deck & Porch Articles
This old garage had developed a serious lean, so I bolted some automotive tow hooks to opposite corners and used a winch to pull it straight.
While raising the sagging floor, we installed long studs that connected the second-floor joists to a beam built in the attic. Rock solid floor accomplished.
It only took a few minutes to build the forms for a 16"x16" poured concrete footing. With an L-shaped anchor bolt and metal post bracket, this footing will resist uplifting forces (from wind) and should never settle.
The original beam had been replaced years earlier, but it was too small and the porch roof had developed a sag. So we supported the structure and installed a bigger beam, and returned the trim to the original style.
The proper way to work on a steep roof is to install roof scaffolding consisting of metal brackets (roof jacks) and 2x10 planks.
Nailing down 3-tab roof shingles is easy, but there are some tricks to guarantee that the rows look straight and uniform.
This was a complex project, but when broken into 4 phases it became much more manageable.
Also See: Index of Roofing Articles
After installing this new-construction window, I made the exterior trim from Azek cellular PVC instead of wood. No problems with paint peeling or water damage.
While remodeling this garage, we needed new wood siding to fill in some new sections of wall beside the garage door.
Instead of filling up the room's only window with an air conditioner, I made a clean opening in the wall for the A/C.
While replacing the siding, we decided to rebuild the "water table" trim with low-maintenance PVC trimboards.
HardiPlank® fiber cement siding goes up quickly when fastened with a coil roofing nail gun. We cut the siding with a special dust-collecting saw, but other tools also work well.
We even cut boards with a special wavy pattern to match the century-old original siding design.
Also See: Index of Exterior Trim & Siding Articles
We took an old dresser and turned into a showpiece. Turns out, it was a quality piece of furniture after all.
This shelf unit was made from knotty pine lumber that we almost threw away. After cleaning up the wood, cutting it into shelves and finishing the wood, I used a pocket screw jig for easy assembly.
To trim out a window with basic 2-1/4" casing, four pieces of casing are mitered and joined at the corners to make a box. Then the entire unit is nailed in place.
I needed extension jambs wider than Andersen's regular jambs, so I bought some clear pine and cut a simple notch on my router table. I saved money too.
This sturdy workbench can be built for around $20, and is made from 2x4s and OSB or plywood. All you need is a circular saw, though a miter saw and jig saw improve accuracy.