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Construction ruckus - how do I help my cat cope?

My landlord insists that I be out of the house during daytime bathroom renovation. This will terrify my aged, timid house cat. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by falldownpaul on Aug 27, 2014 - 56 answers

Home renovation shows that get into the nitty gritty

My boyfriend would like some recommendations for good, detailed home renovation shows. [more inside]
posted by reshet on Aug 24, 2014 - 13 answers

She bought a condo w/ a laminate floor; is this deception?

A friend of a friend bought an expensive condominium in Mid Manhattan. It appeared to me the floors are laminate; I have to return and look closer. Aside from the major cheapness factor, they are advertised as having wood floors. Is this a deception? How does she get clarification? Would her purchase documents have this detailed?
posted by ebesan on Aug 21, 2014 - 32 answers

How much does it cost to build a house?

We just moved to northern Bergen County, NJ, and notice that a lot of the older homes in our neighborhood are being sold, torn down, and brand new houses are being built on the property. How much does that sort of thing cost? [more inside]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Aug 10, 2014 - 11 answers

timber koi pond: do I need to use any adhesives?

Today I cut the timbers for a koi pond, made of 3 stacked courses of 6x6 pressure treated timbers above ground. It's going to be fastened together with 8" timberlok screws and lined with EPDM. One question: should I use any products (like titebond or construction adhesive) between courses and at butts? If so, what you recommend?
posted by ftm on Aug 9, 2014 - 2 answers

What features would your dream house have?

We will be building a new house to live in, what features could we add to make this the best house ever? [more inside]
posted by any portmanteau in a storm on Aug 9, 2014 - 110 answers

How can we help our cats survive a construction project on our house?

Our contractor is about to begin building an addition on our house. (Yay!) However, we have two very sensitive indoors-only cats who get stressed out easily, and we're told the noise is going to be intense for about a month, and especially during the demolition phase. (Boo!) I welcome any and all ideas for reducing our cats' (and our own) stress for the duration of this long project, short of boarding them elsewhere. Thanks! [more inside]
posted by Janey Complainy on Aug 8, 2014 - 10 answers

You can huff and you can puff, but you won't blow MY house down

I'm looking to build a ~1200 square foot house in west central Florida. It seems like modular construction (specifically Palm Harbor Homes) is a good option. They claim that due to the home having to be transported from the factory to the site, it has to be built better / to a higher standard than site-built construction, which is especially beneficial in a hurricane-prone area. Do you have any experience or opinion about modular construction? Particularly experience with Palm Harbor, but experience with other modular builders also welcome. [more inside]
posted by storminator7 on Aug 3, 2014 - 8 answers

Have you worked with houseplans.com?

We need to build a house on a budget but with limited DIY abilities, and have therefore been looking at houseplans.com (this one in particular). Have you ever worked with houseplans.com or a similar service where you buy prepared house plans? Would love any advice, caveats, or other details about the process.
posted by librarina on Aug 2, 2014 - 11 answers

What are houses in different countries made of?

I need to get a general sense of the primary building materials used for housing in a few different countries around the world. I'm looking for suggestions on where to find this type of information. [more inside]
posted by tokaidanshi on Jul 23, 2014 - 4 answers

Construction problemz. What are my options?

We are remodeling our house and we just learned that the windows are arriving a month later than originally planned. What are our options for getting some of our money back to cover the added expense this will incur? [more inside]
posted by Anonymousness on Jul 22, 2014 - 11 answers

8" floor joists, 15' span

I am putting an addition on an old house that has 8" floor joists. For various reasons, it's very problematic to change the ceiling height between the original house and the addition. However, the smallest engineered floor joist I can find is 9 1/2". Code allows me to span 15'7" with 2x8" on 12" center. That's currently the only option I have, however, I've been told my floor will be bouncy.'' Is there anything else I should be considering?
posted by alcahofa on Jul 10, 2014 - 13 answers

Putting a pricetag on my dream?

I've had a fantasy that has been rolling around in my head for the past 15 plus years of opening a small public aquarium. It's always been the sort of things that I thought to myself "If I ever won the lottery one day." level of realism. Over the past year or so, I've been getting encouragement from friends to actually go for it. While I still thinks it's just daydream fodder, I sort of want to figure out a rough idea of cost to see just how crazy the idea is. The problem is, I have no idea how to figure that rough estimate of what it would cost. [more inside]
posted by [insert clever name here] on Jun 29, 2014 - 13 answers

What constitutes a basement bedroom (for egress purposes)

Do I need an egress window in a basement bedroom that has no door? [more inside]
posted by Thrillhouse on May 10, 2014 - 14 answers

NYC to Toronto - should I avoid Newark airport due to construction?

I live in Toronto. I'm flying to New York for a week. My outgoing flight is already booked, but I'm booking my return for May 13. I usually fly Porter, which takes me from Newark to the Toronto Island airport, which I love, and is convenient. I just saw that there's construction at Newark airport, causing delays. (Info here and here) Should I avoid Newark airport for my flight back? If it affects things: In Toronto, I live downtown. In New York, I'm staying on the lower east side.
posted by ManInSuit on May 7, 2014 - 6 answers

Recommendations for inexpensive still-image, auto-uploading webcam

My organization is starting a major construction project, anticipated to take about 4 years. We'll be using a Nikon D5300's interval capability to capture high-resolution, high-quality images for archival and documentation purposes. We would also like to be able to monitor the progress remotely over the internet by using a webcam or other camera (under $200) that can take good-quality still images and upload them automatically to our server (or email them) via WiFi. More specifics after the click. [more inside]
posted by The Deej on Apr 17, 2014 - 6 answers

Keeping the rain out

We live on the bottom floor of a double-decker home. Our back decks are similarly stacked, so the upstairs deck provides some cover from the harsh summer sun. Unfortunately, it still lets rain in. Is there a way we can cover the "roof" of our deck so that we can use it even when it rains? [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Apr 7, 2014 - 10 answers

DIY Carousel: Design Schematics

Where might one find a relatively modern build plan for a traditional carousel (a merry-go-round with galloping up-and-down action)?
posted by glibhamdreck on Mar 30, 2014 - 7 answers

Questions about building inspections

I'm renovating a multi-unit building. The occupancy permits were never revoked. Can I finish one unit and rent it out while finishing the others? How do I handle inspections? [more inside]
posted by slidell on Mar 13, 2014 - 7 answers

Venice, the city built on water

We're planning a trip to Venice. I am fascinated by the fact that they built an entire city in a lagoon and am somewhat flabbergasted that I haven't been able to find a single place in the city where I can see a model or an exhibit that explains the construction. Is there really no place where I can learn more about Venetian engineering?
posted by Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Mar 6, 2014 - 7 answers

Economic way to demolish concrete steps?

We have an old wooden deck at the back of our house that we want to remove and replace with a brick patio. It turns out that under the deck is a solid concrete set of steps. We need to get ride of them. How can we do that economically? [more inside]
posted by starkraven on Mar 3, 2014 - 15 answers

CareerFilter: for life or money?

Help me navigate a tricky career dilemma! I have two similar but different offers; I'm qualified for both. In the absence of a choice I'd take either one. One is less certainty but more pay and better long-term, the other feels better but the pay and long-term advancement are poor, i.e. I'd have to change jobs to get promoted significantly. I'm 28. Snowflake details below the fold. [more inside]
posted by a halcyon day on Feb 25, 2014 - 20 answers

Second story rollup doors — why?

Industrial buildings frequently have rollup doors on the second or even third story. The ones in question don’t have a horizontal I-beam or timber to hang a winch or block & tackle from, (like you’d see on a hayloft,) so they’re not for day-to-day loading/unloading. The ones I see in the city are generally facing a sidewalk, not a dedicated open space like a loading bay or parking lot. What are these doors for? The only guess I’ve come up with is occasional installation of equipment that’s too big for a freight elevator. But large-scale machinery usually comes in pieces and is assembled on-site, and the stuff that can’t be (e.g. large pressure vessels, crucibles, this thing) isn’t stuff that’s ever installed upstairs in a general-purpose light industrial building. I’m stumped.
posted by El Mariachi on Jan 30, 2014 - 6 answers

How do I fabricate stuff?

What books will show me how to fabricate stuff? The FabLab curriculum is oriented more towards digital fabrication techniques, but I'm interested more in (seemingly) simple things such as all the different types of fasteners for hanging things on walls, or how to make objects that serve a function (e.g., a lamp, or a steel-and-wood bench) look less, well, home-made. I guess what I'm asking, and have a hard time translating into a search query, is: how do I learn to make the things I want to make look more designed and less like they were a Saturday-afternoon hobby project? (which, in all fairness, they are) [more inside]
posted by ar0n on Dec 29, 2013 - 7 answers

What do we need to know before we build our house?

We are preparing to build a house. We've been doing this for many months, have talked to architects, contractors, and our city's planning and building department, and we still have lots of questions. Lend us some expertise on foundations, design, and construction? [more inside]
posted by sibilatorix on Dec 1, 2013 - 14 answers

Is there anything out there like a small pre-made deck I can buy?

Basically I have a very tiny tiny yard behind my place. It gets no sun and there's green carpet there now. One of my thoughts was to make a little 3x3 or so deck to put a couple of chairs on it. But rather than have someone build it, I was wondering if there's anything like a little pre-made, pre-treated deck - like shipping pallets or something only not awful - that anyone sells. It'll save me sawing off a finger or hiring a handyman or filling out permits. And I'd rather not do way too much for something so little.
posted by rileyray3000 on Nov 29, 2013 - 10 answers

Holes in the wall, concrete behind drywall, shelving disaster.. help!

I'm trying to put up shelves on a wall that, I believe, is drywall over concrete. I made holes for plastic anchors, but the drywall part isn't deep enough for them to fit. Help, I'm about as handy as the two I have at the of my arms! [more inside]
posted by cacofonie on Nov 17, 2013 - 8 answers

How do I put up this swing set?

I'm building this a-frame swing set for our yard. The pieces are all cut, sanded and painted, the hardware is all attached, and the locations for the legs are all level. Now how do I actually put this thing up? [more inside]
posted by svenx on Nov 2, 2013 - 7 answers

Patent protection: what should I do first?

I have a design for a new construction product, and I'd like to protect my interest in it while I develop and try to sell it. I know very little about searching patents, but my casual searches haven't found any prior art. What should my first steps be? I'm in Australia, but I have family and funds in the USA so I could probably file a patent in either country.
posted by Joe in Australia on Oct 29, 2013 - 8 answers

What should go in my mini-inventor's box?

If you were to fill a 4' x 3' x 2' box with awesome and fun and mostly not messy things for a five year old to invent with, what would you fill it with? [more inside]
posted by Nanukthedog on Oct 24, 2013 - 18 answers

House building advice?

The Mrs. and I are planning to build a house next year on some land that we bought recently. What should we know about house building before undertaking this massive endeavor? [more inside]
posted by LouMac on Oct 16, 2013 - 23 answers

Over-the-range microwave...works?

We need to replace the over-the-range microwave that came with our house. Do the vents actually work well? [more inside]
posted by klausman on Oct 5, 2013 - 10 answers

For career and appropriate tech: Should I be an electrician or plumber?

I'm currently in the application process for the plumbers/pipefitters and electricians unions in my area. I'm trying to decide which one I'd prefer, if I get a choice. I like that both are licensed trades where I could work on big industrial/commercial projects but also have good residential skills. Also, I'm interested in alternative/appropriate/transition technology -- and I'm wondering which trade would give me more versatile skills for that sort of application. Any advice on which trade might give me more skills to make appropriate tech? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 22, 2013 - 4 answers

Google disagrees with me on what "petite women's work pants" are.

Can you recommend durable, somewhat fitted, not outrageously expensive work pants that will fit a small woman (5'0", 100 lbs, athletic build)? And by work I don't mean office-appropriate: I'm a carpenter and I spend my days at a grimy construction site. [more inside]
posted by halogen on Sep 20, 2013 - 8 answers

Photo organization/naming software for construction inspectors?

I need to tag/organize a large number of photos taken on a daily basis by a group of construction inspectors. Preferably something Windows-based and that would prompt the tagging/naming immediately after the photos are taken. [more inside]
posted by Ham Snadwich on Aug 28, 2013 - 9 answers

How to easily build a Lucy Van Pelt advice stand/desk?

I'm going to be a regular for a friend's live show once a month. My "schtick" is to be a Lucy-esque sidekick to her as a host. The stage is small and I will be transporting it in a car. Any suggestions on how to build something low maintenance and portable? It doesn't have to be fancy or complex, I just have no idea where to start in terms of materials and potential construction ideas. TIA!
posted by patientpatient on Aug 15, 2013 - 11 answers

New Hotel being built in downtown LA

There is a hotel being built in downtown LA, across the street from the JW Mariott. At the corner of Fransico Str. and W Olympic Blvd. What is the name of the hotel? [more inside]
posted by zabuni on Jul 30, 2013 - 5 answers

EPS (expanded polystyrene) building cladding. Any advice welcome.

Orange Board is a "fully compliant insulated cladding system". Basically, it's sheets of a foam-like plastic material that gets covered with mesh and stucco / render to serve as the external skin of buildings. I'd like to know how this or similar cladding systems compare to traditional building materials, particularly single-brick (brick veneer) and concrete. How does the longevity compare? Energy efficiency? How easy is it to restore the surface, and how often would it be necessary? I'd be happy for any information people can provide.
posted by Joe in Australia on Jul 22, 2013 - 8 answers

Looking for recommendations for light, heat-insulating floor tile

I'm looking for recommendations about how to insulate the floor of a sauna on a second-floor porch. [more inside]
posted by Seeba on Jul 14, 2013 - 12 answers

Building a house. Don't want AV guy to know I'm a noob. Help please.

I have some pretty basic questions that I'd rather ask someone other than the man with the power to charge me out the wazoo if he senses I am clueless. They pertain to wiring the house for cable and phone and internet, and they are as follows: [more inside]
posted by malhouse on Jun 23, 2013 - 8 answers

What kind of lawyer do I need to look for?

We have a construction company in the middle of a year-long process of building two new houses next to ours. For the last couple months they have been dropping garbage (nails, insulation, chunks of 2x4) on our house's walkways and roof — some of it dangerous (boards with nails through them, for instance, along the walkway on the side of the house). I'd like to try to get this to stop. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 23, 2013 - 14 answers

Advice on a cross-country route from Minneapolis to Richmond

We're driving from Minneapolis to Richmond this weekend, and want to change up our usual route. Will you locals in the major cities along our route provide wisdom/advice on the traffic and construction situation? [more inside]
posted by Zosia Blue on May 14, 2013 - 7 answers

code and construction requirements rebuilding post-sandy nyc

What are the updated building codes and construction requirements for rebuilding homes and businesses in the NYC Boroughs post Sandy? And in addition to raising the foundation the required amount depending on elevation of the property, and the flood risk zone, what engineering and construction methods/standards could be examined to meet, or exceed, the tougher thresholds?
posted by ebesan on Apr 27, 2013 - 1 answer

Winchester Mystery Rancher

Manic Pixie Dream Architecture: please point me towards any websites/books/magazines/blogs/etc. which show weird/cool/unique/interactive design features (e.g. secret/hidden doors) in non-mansion homes. [more inside]
posted by julthumbscrew on Mar 7, 2013 - 8 answers

Why Does Ready To Wear Mensware From The UK Fit Me Better Than US Stuff?

I've noticed that the bog-standard off the rack/department store menswear items (button-up shirts, slacks, etc) from UK brands bought in the UK tends to fit me wildly better then their counterparts in the US. I have to alter them a lot less and they just hang off my body better. I'm wondering if there's a technical/fashion-nerd reason for this and if so, what should I be looking for in the US department store brands to get this same effect? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Mar 3, 2013 - 6 answers

Laminate vs. Bamboo vs. Hardwood flooring

Should I install "bamboo hardwood," hardwood, or laminate floors? This is for a rental unit in a not-that-upscale neighborhood in Oakland, California. I'm most concerned about long-term maintenance costs and potential resale value. [more inside]
posted by slidell on Feb 8, 2013 - 12 answers

What software will let me simulate building construction?

I wonder if there's a game or a program that simulates building construction. I am interested in something like STARCRAFT or LEMMINGS for building-construction simulation. [more inside]
posted by shipbreaker on Feb 7, 2013 - 15 answers

Need overview for a proposed audio/visual, security and computer layout

Looking for a good overview for a proposed audio/visual, security and computer layout in an urban residence. e.g. list of equipment, layout, controls, outlets, wiring, speakers. This is new, not retro-fit, the walls are open, all the wiring and controls can be neatly coordinated. Help me see this in plan; as a well-tuned clock; not a mish-mash.
posted by ebesan on Feb 5, 2013 - 5 answers

human fishtank on a budget

For an art project I'm looking to build a transluscent human-sized fishtank-like container. How can I accomplish this without spending thousands of dollars? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 17, 2013 - 10 answers

Our roof is being redone tomorrow, worried about cats.

Our house still has its original roof from when it was built in the mid-1950s. It's finally getting replaced tomorrow -- after months of leaks in nearly every room -- but I'm worried about our two indoor cats dealing with it. I know the noise will terrify them and they will hide, but are there other things I should worry about? [more inside]
posted by perryfugue on Jan 15, 2013 - 18 answers

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