Category A HOUSE

Types of heat generation in Ukraine in 2016 and their cost

In 2016, private consumers of heat in Ukraine receive the heat from the following sources:

  1. The most common one is electricity, which means electric boilers, electric fireplaces and heaters of different kinds. Skipping some details, in most cases the ultimate source is hydropower. Possible sources are nuclear power and thermal power stations. For the most of final consumers, the distributing functions are performed by HCS (Housing and Communal Services companies) or companies of “Region-Town-Energo” type. At the beginning of 2016 the cost of “elektroheating” is about 1 UAH/kW.

To take into account getting the heat directly to the consumer’s apartment, house, or other compartment, to the cost of heat generation we will add amortized cost of the equipment, such as cost per hour based on the “25 years of the equipment running”. In this example we get 1 kW/h via ceramic heating plate 1200 UAH of cost. It serves at least 25 years, which means 25х365х24 = 219000 hours, or “amortized cost per hour” of 1200/219000 = 0,0054 UAH, i.e. it is inessential. Continue reading


Earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes don’t come our way very often, but their brute force can be devastating—even fatal—if we’re not prepared. Look at what Katrina did to Louisiana and Mississippi. Disasters don’t just strike “other people.” Sometimes they happen to us.

I remember inspecting a house in California after the 6.8 Northridge earthquake. The house hadn’t collapsed, but the hot-water heater had been thrown 20 ft. out into the street. Other heavy appliances were scattered throughout the house. A good HVAC contractor knows which measures are required for securing equipment in areas where the risk of natural disasters is higher than normal. Steel strapping and other hold­down hardware are available at most home cen­ters. Check with your building department to see whether there are special requirements in your area for securing heaters and other appliances.

Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers save lives

Smoke detectors can and often do save lives, especially when a fire breaks out while you are sleeping. Most codes require that smoke detec­tors be installed in every bedroom and hallway. Some detectors are designed to be wired into your electrical system (with battery backup in case of power outages), whereas others work on battery power alone. You need to know the location of these units so you can check them every three to four months by pressing the test button that’s clearly visible on each detector.

If the unit is operating properly, it will emit a high-pitched sound.

A while back, a friend was visiting and left a small towel on top of the stove, not realizing that one of the burners was on. In just a min­ute or two, the towel was ablaze. A handy fire extinguisher quickly put an end to what could have been a major disaster. Fire extinguishers are inexpensive and have been put in all the Habitat houses I have worked on. Install one in the kitchen where it is easily visible and acces­sible so that anyone can locate it quickly. Drive the mounting screws into a stud so the fire extinguisher is securely attached.

Подпись: Rather than a lawn, try growing a garden in a few raised beds. Not only will you have veggies and flowers for your family, but there will be plenty to share with your neighbors. [Photo by Don Charles Blom] Подпись: Leave the lawn cutting to the parks and recreation department.Yards can be made attractive by using bark, chips, and a few native plants. [Photo by Don Charles Blom]

Подпись: No one wants a lawn that looks like a junkyard, but who wants to spend half a lifetime


STEP 4 PREPARE FOR THE WORSTПодпись: DID YOU KNOW? According to a survey in Builder Magazine, Habitat for Humanity is the 16th largest house builder in the United States. ■ Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built or rehabilitated more than 60,000 houses throughout the United States. ■ More than 1,200 Habitat houses have been built by allwomen crews. ■ According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Habitat for Humanity is the 17th largest nonprofit organization in the United States. ■ The average Habitat house built in the United States costs just over $64,500, encompasses 1,100 sq. ft. of living space, is held together with 40,790 nails, contains 600 pieces of lumber, and is finished with 50 gal. of paint. ■ Habitat for Humanity has more than 1,700 affiliates in the United States (including Guam and Puerto Rico) and 600 international affiliates in more than 90 countries. Подпись: 4 f Photo courtesy HFHI Подпись:landscaping a yard to look like a city park? A well-tended yard can play a key role in making a house look and feel like a home, so what are

we to do?

For many homeowners the answer has been to think beyond a traditional lawn. Lawns are high maintenance. To avoid a visit from the homeowners association, you have to own, operate, and store a lawn mower. Watering a lawn is costly, and care of one often involves pesticides and chemical fertilizers, some of which can pollute our water systems and may affect our children’s health.

I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of lawns for the front or back yard. This may come from growing up in a place where my “lawn” was hundreds of miles of the open prairie. Lawn maintenance was the responsi­bility of grazing cows, horses, buffaloes, and prairie dogs.

There are many ways to make a yard at­tractive and welcoming. Something as simple as a curved sidewalk is a good place to start. Many people like to put down a liner that keeps weeds from growing and cover this with tree bark, mulch, or different kinds of rock. Native trees and shrubs can be planted to add greenery.

It makes sense to landscape with native plants. They flourish with little care and are truly a natural part of the landscape. Better to use plants that call the land around you home.

For me, the solution has been to remove the sod lawns on my property and replant native plants and an organic vegetable and flower garden. That way I can grow all kinds of deli­cious foods (see Resources on p. 279), and if I feel the need to walk on manicured grass, I can visit a golf course.

Also think about creating a special place in your yard where you can read or meditate. Try placing a bench under a tree where you can kick off your shoes, rest, and watch your children play. Even a few well-placed rocks can turn a common corner into an area of interest. Enjoy your new home!

[1] helped build my first house in 1948. It was a mail-order house brought to our small town by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, then to the site by horse and wagon. Every piece of the house frame was precut and tied in bundles. My job was to untie the bundles and bring the pieces to the carpenters who nailed them together.

Today, the same house pieces are needed, but most of them are cut to length on site. Headers are needed over door and window openings to transfer roof loads down to the subfloor and foundation. Rough sills support windows. Cripples or jack studs either support a rough sill or transfer weight from a top plate to a header. Trimmers extend on both sides of door and window openings to support headers (see the illustration on p. 87).

Before you can begin cutting or marking framing members, you need some basic infor­mation, including the standard stud length, the height at which headers will be set, the size and location of door and window openings, and

[2] Caulk the flange. Squeeze a generous bead of exterior caulk or sealant on the back of each window flange (see the photo above).

[3] started doing finish work as a helper to a cabi­netmaker. In the 1950s, there were few factory – made cabinets available. Every cabinet that we installed in every house was built piece by piece on the job.

Today, there is no need to build cabinets on site. Home centers and cabinet shops carry many cabinet styles that are built to order. The price depends on a number of factors, includ­ing the amount of solid wood used in the construction; the style of doors and drawer fronts; and the quality of the hinges, handles, drawer slides, and other hardware. Most base cabinets are sized to provide a countertop height of 36 in. But other sizes and styles are avail­able to accommodate wheelchair access and

Install an apron. This piece of trim is nailed below a windowsill; it covers a gap in the drywall and gives the sill some visual weight.


Houses are a lot like automobiles. Both work well if they’re cared for and maintained. In order to maintain your car, you need to know simple things, such as where and how to add oil or brake fluid, how to put air in the tires, and how to check the radiator. Sure, you could have


a mechanic take care of this routine mainte­nance, but it can quickly get expensive—and besides, it’s satisfying to understand the basics of your daily transportation. The same goes for a house. There’s no need to call a plumber every time you have a leaky faucet or an electrician every time a circuit breaker needs to be reset. Now that you’ve finished building an affordable house, you can maintain it affordably with a little basic know-how.

Do electrical checks

For safety’s sake, one of the first things you should check is that all switch, outlet, doorbell, and exhaust fan covers are securely in place.

Подпись:Подпись: Store a wrench near the gas line's shutoff valve. Shutting off the main gas line quickly can save lives during an earthquake or a hurricane. Buy a wrench that fits the gas line shutoff valve, and store the wrench right next to the valve so that it's immedi-ately accessible should an emergency occur.As a homeowner, you should also know the location of the main electrical circuit box. It contains wires leading to every part of the house and the circuit breakers, which are the switches that control the electricity on individual circuits. Open the box door covering the circuit break­ers and make sure the electrical contractor has labeled what each breaker controls. This circuit map should be on the inside of the door. You should be able to identify the separate breakers for the stove, refrigerator, and furnace, as well as lighting and receptacle circuits for different parts of the house. There will also be a large single breaker that completely shuts down the current throughout the house. With well – labeled breakers, you’ll be able to shut off power when you need to do wiring work on a specific switch or outlet.

Подпись:Подпись: Change smoke detector batteries. Incorporate this main-tenance task into your NewYear's Day routine to make sure that all smoke detectors in the house receive fresh batteries at least once a year.If an outlet doesn’t work, one of the first things to check is whether it’s a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. GFCI pro­tection is required for outdoor receptacles (out­lets) and electrical outlets in the kitchen and bathroom—places where the presence of mois­ture might pose an electrical shock hazard. If overloading or an electrical short is detected, a GFCI circuit breaker will shut down at the main service panel, cutting off power to all outlets on the circuit. GFCI protection can also be provided by a GFCI receptacle that’s wired to other receptacles. Both GFCI devices have test and reset buttons. Find out which type of GFCI protection you have, where the devices are located, and which outlets they control.

By pressing the test and reset buttons, you’ll see how they work.

Many electrical codes also protect houses us­ing AFCIs (arc-fault circuit interrupters). Fires sometimes start when electricity arcs between two points. If an arc occurs, an AFCI automati­cally cuts off the flow of electricity. Power can be restored by resetting the breaker in the main control box in the house once the problem has been fixed.

Know the water and gas lines

In the same way that there’s a main electrical shutoff switch in the electrical circuit box, there are also shutoff valves for the water and, in some places, the natural gas supplies that come into a home. Find out from your plumber and heat­ing contractor where these valves are, and label them clearly. Water and gas lines can break, and being able to shut off the flow of water or gas could mean the difference between a minor problem and a catastrophe.

Turning a valve on the gas meter with a crescent wrench can often shut it off. There is a shutoff valve on the main water pipe com­ing into the house. There are also localized shutoff valves under sinks and toilets and near washer-dryer units (see the photo at left). These allow you to turn off the water to a particular appliance so that you can fix a dripping faucet or make other repairs.

Be familiar with heating and air­conditioning components

The filter is an inexpensive but very important part of most forced-air heating systems. A central air-conditioning system also relies on a filter to trap dust and dirt that may otherwise be blown into living spaces when the system is operat­ing. Make sure you know where these filters are located and how to change them. Replacing a furnace or central AC filter usually takes no more than a minute or two. Always have one or two new replacement filters on hand. Check your working filter against a new one, and replace the old filter once it’s discolored by trapped material. A well-functioning filter is good for your health and the health of your HVAC system.

Wood and plastic laminate floorings are very durable

When my family moved into our present home, the living room floor was covered with an ancient yellow shag carpet. There were things growing in that carpet that even our dog didn’t like. I replaced the carpeting with a nice, pre­finished floor made from bamboo. The cost for the floor, not counting my labor, was less than the cost for a decent carpet. We have a couple of area rugs that can be taken outside and given a good shaking now and then.

PREFINISHED WOOD FLOORING. In the old days, wood flooring was installed “in the raw,” one tongue-and-groove strip at a time. Then it was sanded and finished. The sanding process covered everything with fine sawdust, and the oil-varnish finish filled the air with unpleasant (and often hazardous) fumes. Although it’s still possible to install wood floors that way, more and more people are choosing prefinished wood flooring. The installed cost is about the same for both flooring treatments,
but you don’t have to deal with dust or fumes. You also don’t have to wait for the multiple coats of finish to be applied. In addition, the factory – applied finishes on better-quality flooring are very durable.

I love wood floors. I prefer them over carpet. They are attractive, affordable—the installation price of a wood floor is often lower than that of carpet—and easy to clean. So it’s great to see such a wide selection of wood flooring available at home-improvement centers and flooring deal­ers. Good instructions are also available from manufacturers and in-store experts for installing prefinished flooring. As with traditional solid – wood floors, prefinished flooring is made to fit together with tongue-and-groove joints.

Подпись: Install a “floating floor. Both plastic-laminate flooring (shown here) and engineered-wood flooring can be installed without nails. The individual sections of flooring “snap” together in an interlocking joint. The finished floor “floats” on a resilient pad laid over the subfloor. [Photo by Don Charles Blom]
Prefinished hardwood floors come in many styles and woods. Some of the more popular choices are oak, maple, cherry, ash, and fir. You can also select the stain or clear finish and the edge detail. Most prefinished wood flooring is made by gluing wood plies together. Referred to as engineered wood flooring, prefinished wood

flooring is manufactured in strip, plank, and parquet form. Strip flooring can be up to 3//2 in. wide, planks are wider, and parquet flooring comes in square pieces. The overall thickness is usually 1/2 in. or less. Some prefinished strips and planks have slightly eased or beveled edges to make handling and installation easier. Basic, square-edged flooring is also available.

Wood flooring can be installed with a pneumatic nailer, attached to the subfloor with adhesive, or simply “snapped” together with an interlocking tongue and groove system. These floors “float” on a resilient pad. Manufacturers have even developed flooring that simply snaps together without glue. If you want to do the in­stallation yourself, check with the manufacturer or with your flooring supplier to determine which type of installation is appropriate, and be sure to follow the installation instructions that come with the flooring material. PLASTIC-LAMINATE FLOORING. Like engineered-wood flooring, plastic-laminate flooring is a plywood construction, but the top, or “show,” layer is man-made rather than natural. Different colors and patterns are available, including some very realistic wood tones. The surface is extremely durable, though it can’t be sanded and refinished like some types of wood flooring. Shop around and you’ll find plastic-laminate flooring for about the same price as good-quality vinyl flooring. It’s easy to install, too. This type of flooring works well in kitchens and bathrooms. I have it in my writing room. The supplier taught me how to lay it by “snapping” the edges together. I installed about 100 sq. ft. without driving a single nail.


Things are looking good. The house is painted; the doors, cabinets, and countertops have been installed; and all your faucets and light switches are working. But one major transformation remains—the finish flooring.

Installing finish flooring is one of the last jobs to do or have done, and for good reason. Now that you’re down to the detail work, fewer workers will be coming through the house, so there is less chance that the flooring will be damaged. There are many options, even for affordable homes, so this is a great opportunity to make choices that express your personal style.

Know the pros and cons of carpeting

Carpeting is not my first choice for a floor covering. In general, inexpensive carpeting

Подпись: Engineered-wood flooring is easy to install. Plied construction, tongue- and-groove joints, and a factory-applied finish make engineered-wood flooring easy to install and very durable. Different plank widths and a wide range of wood species are available. [Photo by Scott Phillips, courtesy Fine Homebuilding magazine © The Taunton Press, Inc.]

doesn’t last long, so it tends to be a significant part of the waste stream clogging our landfills. Fortunately, efforts are now being made to re­cycle some of the millions of yards of carpeting that are replaced every year.

If you really like wall-to-wall carpeting,

I recommend using it selectively—in bed­rooms, for example. It’s not a good flooring choice in bathrooms, kitchens, and entryways. Don’t install wall-to-wall carpeting where it will get wet and be difficult to keep clean.

In those situations, carpeting can collect dust and harbor dust mites and mold, becoming a potential health hazard. It’s worth it to buy good-quality carpeting. Avoid light colors, if possible.

Carpeting is most often purchased from a supplier and then installed by a subcontrac­tor. Talk to your carpet subcontractor about the quality and durability of any carpet you’re considering. A tightly woven carpet with a low nap is the easiest type to clean. Find out whether your choice of carpeting and carpet padding are manufactured with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can adversely affect allergy-prone individuals. Low-VOC carpets, pads, and adhesives cost a bit more, but your health is on the line.

As with other types of finish flooring, carpeting should be installed only over a clean, dry substrate. When installing carpeting over a concrete slab, make sure the concrete has had a chance to cure and dry. Laying carpet on a damp slab is an invitation to mold and rot.

Vinyl floor coverings come in many designs

When I was growing up in my family’s prairie home, our kitchen floor was covered with a thick linoleum that was common years ago. It had a beautiful floral pattern in bright col – ors—except in the high-traffic areas, where it had worn bare within six months of installa­tion. Fortunately, today’s vinyl floor coverings are much tougher than old-fashioned linoleum, and they come in a dazzling array of colors, patterns, and designs. I usually shy away from light colors because they tend to show dirt and require more cleaning.

Vinyl works well in kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, dining areas, and entryways be­cause it’s durable, waterproof, and easy to clean. Whatever you install should be able to with­stand the wear and tear of a family for at least a few years. Better grades are usually worth the extra money because they last longer.

As with wall-to-wall carpeting, vinyl floor­ing is usually installed by a subcontractor. In most cases, an underlayment of /d-in.-thick plywood or OSB is installed over the subfloor to provide a flat, firm base for the vinyl. Make sure the adhesive the contractor uses to bond the vinyl to the underlayment has a low VOC content. Once the vinyl flooring is in place, take care when moving the refrigerator, stove, or other heavy object across the floor. The feet on those appliances can scrape or tear a vinyl floor.

Install the interior-door hardware


Подпись: Bath fixtures can be mounted on a 1x4 and then screwed securely into wall studs. [Photo by Don Charles Blom]
Install the interior-door hardware

Interior-door handles and locks are installed in essentially the same manner as those used on exterior doors. Most interior doors just require a handle and a latch, or what is commonly known as a passage-door lockset. However, for bedroom and bathroom doors you may want a privacy lock—an interior lockset that locks when you push or turn a button.

Подпись: Vinyl flooring offers beauty, durability, and easy main-tenance. Available in roll or tile form, vinyl flooring offers all three advantages, making it a wise choice for kitchens. [Photo by Reese Hamilton, courtesy Fine Home-building magazine © The Taunton Press, Inc.]Install the interior-door hardwareInstall the bathroom hardware and fixtures

One of your primary concerns when install­ing fixtures in a bathroom is to make sure they won’t come loose in a month or two. A toilet – paper holder, for example, should be screwed into solid wood and not into drywall alone. This is why we installed backing in the bathroom walls when we framed the walls (see Chapter 4). If, for whatever reason, there is no backing in the wall, try to mount items by screwing them into studs. If you simply can’t avoid fastening into dry – wall alone, use an expansion, or toggle, bolt that goes through the drywall and opens in the back. You could also mount the fixture on 1×4 trim and then screw the board into the wall studs.

A recessed medicine cabinet is installed in the hole left in the drywall, which is usually directly over the sink. If the cabinet is surface mounted,
position it so the bottom edge is 4 ft. from the floor, then screw it into studs or backing.

The toilet-paper holder should be screwed either into backing near the toilet, at 24 in. above the floor, or into a nearby vanity cabinet at the same height. Towel bars should be installed near the tub and vanity at 54 in. above the floor (see the photos on p. 271).

If you want to install a toothbrush and cup holder, they should be located 4 in. above the sink or 40 in. from the floor. It’s also a good idea to put a small clothes hook or two on the back of the bathroom door.

Various types of shower curtain rods can be installed in different ways. I like the ones that mount in sockets that are screwed into wall studs, much like the pole in a clothes closet. Or you can use the type of rod that is held by pres­sure between the two walls that surround the tub-shower. Cut the rod to length with a hack­saw, locate it just above the top of the shower walls, then expand it until it holds itself in place. Don’t forget to hang a beautiful shower curtain to add some color to your bathroom.


From Locks to Smoke Detectors to Landscaping

it was the great Yankee catcher, Yogi Berra, who said of baseball, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The same is true of building a house. Even as you finish the interior painting, install the cabinets, and complete all the plumbing and electrical work, there’s still plenty to do before a new house is ready to welcome its first inhabitants. Although most of these final tasks are small compared to the major construction stages that have already been done, there are a surprising number that belong on what some contractors refer to as a punchlist. Such tasks range from installing the toilet-paper holder and mounting a fire extinguisher to nailing up house numbers and putting in the medicine cabinet. Taken together, these little assignments can demand just as much of your time—and possibly more—than some of the bigger jobs you did earlier. The step-by-step format in this chapter will help you divide these details into manageable chunks of work.


Most finish hardware will be seen and used for the life of the house, so take your time installing items such as door locks, drawer pulls, and towel bars. Once they’re installed neatly and accurately, they’ll look attractive and work well for a long time. Keep in mind that safety items, such as grab bars, also need to be installed securely so that they’ll be safe to use.

Choose and install exterior-door locksets and deadbolts

Подпись: STEP BY STEPПодпись: 1 Install the Hardware and Fixtures p. 269 2 Select and Install the Finish Flooring p. 272 3 Get to Know Electrical and Mechanical Systems p. 215 4 Prepare for the Worst p. 216 5 Landscaping p. 211 DETAILSThese days, security is a concern in many areas. When a house is first closed in, it’s a good idea to buy an inexpensive door lock to seal it off. That way, you can

Подпись: Find a comfortable seat. A small workbench or even a 5-gal. bucket allows you to sit down when installing latches and locksets. [Photo by Don Charles Blom] Buy your wel­come mat early! To reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked into a house after new carpeting and vinyl and wood flooring have been installed, set up some sort of dirt-catching mat. Put it by the front door near a sign that says, “Please wipe your feet or remove your shoes.”

Подпись: Use an easier handle. A lever-type door handle is easier to open than a round knob is, especially for older folks and those with arthritis or carpal-tunnel pain. [Photo © Rex Cauldwell]

have a bunch of keys made and give a key to any contractor who needs to get in. There is no need to install the finished locks until after the paint­ing is done and just before the final inspection.

With door locksets, you’ll find a wide range of prices for different products. The quality range is just as broad. You don’t need to buy the best lock on the shelf, but you shouldn’t buy the cheapest, either. The exterior lockset is used many times every day, and a bargain-basement lock won’t hold up over the long haul.

LEVERS, KNOBS, AND KEYS. Instead of buying a lockset that opens with a round knob, consider one that opens with a lever, as shown in the photo at left. This type of lockset and handle is much easier on the hands of older folks and people with arthritis. Also, be sure to buy exterior locks and deadbolts that open with the same key. If a supplier doesn’t have enough identical-key locksets in stock, order them. This will eliminate the hassle of having different keys for all the exterior doors.

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latch assembly has been installed, you can install the handles and screw them together. It’s often necessary to use a sharp chisel to deepen the mortar for latch assembly.

For good reason, fire-safety code requires that deadbolts open with a lever (not a key) from the inside. You wouldn’t want to look for a key with fire licking at your heels. INSTALLATION DETAILS. Prehung exterior doors are drilled at the factory to receive both a lockset and a deadbolt. If you buy your doors this way, you should have an easy time installing the lockset. The installation instructions that come with each unit aren’t difficult to follow (see the illustration on the facing page). When installing locksets, I like to sit on my workbench with my tools and hardware on the shelf below. This is easier and more comfortable than kneeling or bending over (see the photo on the facing page).

The spring-loaded latch assembly and dead­bolt are installed first. The factory-cut mortises for the latch and deadbolt plates, as well as those in the door jamb for the strike plates, all have rounded corners. If the plates in your hardware set aren’t rounded also, you’ll need to cut the mortised corners square with a sharp chisel to
make the plates fit. You may need to deepen the latch bolt mortise to ensure that the plate fits flush with the surface of the door edge.

Once the latch and deadbolt plates have been screwed to the door edge and the strike plates have been screwed to the jamb, you can install the knobs or handles. On exterior doors, standard practice is to orient the keyhole so that the key can be inserted with the smooth side down. Most folks find that this makes it easier to fit the key in the lock when unlocking a door in the dark.

Add smaller shelves to a closet

Rather than always running a shelf pole all the way across a closet, you can shorten the pole and add a column of shelves at one end, as shown in the illustration on p. 263. With this design, you can make a typical 6-ft. closet much more useful for storing all kinds of clothes, including shoes. Cut the 1×12 divider 76 in. long, lay out the shelf locations, then attach 1×2 shelf-support cleats to the divider.

I usually place the two lowest shelves 8 in. and 16 in. off the floor for shoes. For socks and underclothes, I place a shelf every 12 in. above the first two. Fasten corresponding cleats to the side of the closet wall where the shelves will be installed.

In a 6-ft.-wide closet, install a vertical di­vider 54 in. from one side or the other. Toenail the divider to the floor. Nail the top shelf (which extends all the way across the closet) to the top of the divider, making sure the divider is plumb.


Подпись: The inside of a closet can be arranged to hold much more than clothes on hangers. A bank of shelves can eliminate the need for a chest of drawers. [Photo by Don Charles Blom]

This allows you to adjust the height of shelves, just as in a kitchen cabinet.

On the pole side of the divider, put a few hooks to hang belts. On the cleat holding the shelf on the other end, install a hook or two to hold clothes you don’t want to put on a hanger. Now you have a much more usable closet with little added expense or labor.

Trim out a closet with coated-wire shelving

The rubberized wire shelving found at home centers offers many accessories to help organize a clothes closet. The wire frames are strong and open, and you don’t have to paint them (see the photo on p. 265). Besides the traditional shelf – and-pole setup, you can install baskets, drawers, and tie, belt, and shoe racks. The possibilities for arranging your closets with these components are really endless. The only drawback is that they’re more expensive than building simple storage spaces with wood.

I haven’t installed a lot of this type of shelv­ing, but it isn’t difficult. The instructions that come with the components are easy to follow. Just be sure to make accurate measurements so the shelving is installed straight and level. Some people put backing in the wall frame be­fore drywall is installed so the hooks that hold

Add smaller shelves to a closetAdd smaller shelves to a closet

Bringing pipes and electrical wire through the back of a Cutting exact angles is easy when you have a chopsaw.

base cabinet calls for careful measurements. A tight-fitting miter really looks nice.

We tackle the baseboard trim after all the cabinets have been installed.

Add smaller shelves to a closetПодпись: COLORFUL CHARACTER FOR A HOME We once rehabbed a house for a couple with seven children. The father, Eddie, had never had his own bed as a child. As we worked together fixing up the house that would become his family's new home, it was clear that he was overwhelmed with pride. Eddie had a colorful personality, and he loved color in every aspect of his life. Each room in his soon-to-be completed house was to be painted a happy color—hot pink for his girls, electric blue for his boys. And on the outside? Bright-yellow vinyl siding. After the house was finished, Eddie and his family came to our church to thank the congregation for sponsoring the rehab of their new home. Striding down the aisle with his wife, Shandra, and all their kids, Eddie—who's at least 6 ft. 3 in. and rail-thin—was all smiles. What a happy man he was that day. But he wasn't the only one smiling. As Eddie and his family made their way to the front of the church, past the 900 people sitting in their pews, I couldn't help noticing his shoes, and I smiled myself. They were fire-engine red. Color, obviously, is important to Eddie. —Anna G. Carter Add smaller shelves to a closet

the wire units can be screwed into solid wood. Otherwise, you can screw the hooks into studs and use the drywall anchors that come with the shelving units in places where you need support but don’t have a stud.

Install shelves in linen closets and the laundry room

A complaint I hear from many homeowners is that they just don’t have enough places to store their belongings. Certainly, most of us could stand to reduce the clutter in our lives, but ad­equate storage space is in short supply in small, affordable houses. For that reason, it makes sense to get the most out of whatever storage space you do have.

Just as in a clothes closet, you can do a lot with a linen closet by building shelving like that shown in the illustration on p. 263. I like to in­stall the first shelf at 18 in. to 20 in. off the floor, then place shelves every 12 in. to 16 in. up from there. Use 1 x2 cleats on each side of the closet, and attach the shelving to the cleats.

Take advantage of all the space in a linen closet (usually around 24 in.) by using full-depth shelves. Melamine shelving is available in vari­ous standard widths up to 24 in., or you can buy 4-ft. by 8-ft. sheets of the material and cut it to the desired width.

Laundry rooms are often just large enough to hold a washer and dryer. Few affordable houses have a large utility room with space for lots of shelves. In a small laundry room, I install a couple of shelves over the washer and dryer for items such as soap and bleach.

I install the first shelf at 5 ft. off the floor and another one above the first. Or you can buy a simple wall cabinet and attach it to the wall.

Another strategy to consider is using built-ins to gain space. Most home centers sell an ironing board in a cabinet that fits neatly between two wall studs. You may want to build a bookcase that fits into the wall. I often like to build a small box with a shelf to place in walls here and there. This provides a place for a vase with flowers or other knickknacks.

Add smaller shelves to a closet




The joints in baseboard should be close to per­fect. Minor touchups with latex caulk can be done before painting. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to make perfect joints at corners when the drywall is not straight or a corner is not square.

On inside corners, drywall can be tipped back, causing a coped or mitered baseboard joint to open. This can be remedied by putting a shim be­hind the tipped trim so that it sets straight up and down. Instead of a shim, I sometimes drive a dry – wall screw into the bottom plate to hold the base­board square (see the illustration at right).

I use two short pieces of baseboard with mi­tered (45-degree) ends to check outside corners for square (see the photo right). If the mitered joints fit perfectly, the corner is square. If not, note whether the joint is open at the heel (the back corner of the baseboard) or at the toe (the front edge). If it’s open at the heel, set the chopsaw at a 44-degree angle (or less, if necessary) before making the cut. If it’s open at the toe, set the saw at a 46-degree angle (or more, if appropriate). Rather than waste long pieces of material, make practice cuts on scrap until you get the right fit.








Drywall, especially in the corners, can taper inward, causing the baseboard to pull away from the wall at the top.


To prevent this, drive a drywall screw into the bottom plate behind the baseboard to hold the baseboard plumb.




Подпись: Offset closet doors make sense. Instead of framing a closet doorway in the center of the closet space, consider offsetting the doorway to one side. This will leave space at one end of the closet to make cubby-holes for folded clothing and shoes.

the other to help hold the miter firmly together. Predrill the nail hole so you don’t split the wood.

To cover a long wall, join two pieces of baseboard with a 45-degree scarf joint. It’s best to break the joint over a stud. Cut the first piece of trim, and install it with the long point of the miter at the back of the material. The second piece is cut with the long point of the miter at the front of the material. The second miter laps over the first to make a tight joint.

The last piece of baseboard in a room should have a coped joint on one end. The
other end will have a square cut that butts into the door casing.

FINISH UP. Pieces of baseboard will be at slightly different elevations where carpeting meets vinyl flooring. Join the two pieces of baseboard with a square cut, and use sandpaper to round the corner of the higher piece so that it meets the lower one (see the illustration on p. 261).

Other situations require a bit of finesse. For example, you can’t run baseboard in front of a heat register that goes all the way to the floor.

In that situation, bevel each end cut 15 degrees
instead of making a right-angled cut (see the illustration on p. 261).

Cabinet manufacturers sometimes supply a prefinished baseboard that matches their cabinets. This base material is cut and nailed under the front of the cabinets in the toekick space. Once installed, it hides the joints between the cabinets.

If that cabinet trim is not available, you can cover the toekick area with a regular piece of baseboard trim. You may also want to install base shoe, or shoe trim, a small, quarter-round type of molding that is often used with base­board trim (see the illustration on p. 261). Shoe trim hides any space that may exist between the baseboard and hardwood or vinyl flooring. Because it’s so small, it’s quite flexible (much more so than baseboard), so it can be bent to fit the contour of a wavy wall or floor. It is not needed with carpeting because carpeting fills the space between the baseboard and the floor.

If you’ve hand-nailed all the interior trim, you now need to drive all the finish nails below the surface of the wood with a nail set. Once set, the holes can be filled with putty and sanded in preparation for painting. Caulk along the top edge of the baseboard trim and along the casings to fill any gap between the trim and the wall. Remember that caulk shrinks, so some gaps may need a second application. Take your time when caulking baseboard. Leave joints looking neat, not messy.

Chair rail adds character

Подпись:FITTING BASEBOARD IN IMPERFECT CORNERSПодпись: MAKING A CLOSET INTO A MORE USABLE SPACEПодпись:Chair rail is another type of traditional trim that is installed horizontally and often used in kitchens, dining rooms, and sometimes hallways. In days past, chair rail protected the wall from being marred by the backs of chairs. Today, it is mainly used to add character to a room. Chair rail is cut and installed just like baseboard (see the photo above). Join two pieces with a coped joint at inside corners and a mi­tered joint at outside corners. Nail the chair rail directly to the wall studs, with the top of the rail 36 in. from the floor.


Most closets in affordable houses get nothing more than a shelf and a pole. It’s my opinion that we can do much better without a lot of effort or expense. Very little extra material is needed to add shelves for socks and underwear, to make a place to hang belts and ties, and to make cubbyholes for shoes. Experience tells me that people like and use such storage. Even if you don’t want to build special storage bins, you can buy them. Many people now use the wire shelv­ing available at home centers.

Install shelves and poles

To install a basic shelf and a pole in a closet, measure 66 in. from the floor and mark the back and sides of the closet (see the illustration on the facing page). Then cut cleats (also called rails or ledgers) from 1×4 stock and nail each cleat so its top edge is on a line. Drive two 8d finish nails through the 1x rails and into each stud.

Cut the shelves from 1×12 pine or melamine (particleboard covered with white plastic lami­nate). A standard closet shelf extends from wall to wall. I like to secure the shelf with a couple of nails driven into the cleat. It’s a good idea to predrill the nail holes.

In a small closet, where the shelf and pole are just 3 ft. long or so, no mid-span support for the shelf or pole is necessary. Each end of the pole rests in a socket that is screwed to a side cleat.

In a larger closet, both the shelf and the pole need additional support from metal brackets. Place a bracket against a side cleat to determine the location of the pole sockets. This ensures that the sockets and brackets will support the pole at the same level. Attach the top part of the bracket to the 1×4 horizontal cleat on the back wall, then nail a 10-in.-long piece of 1×4 perpendicular to the cleat and over a stud to support the bottom of the bracket (see the il­lustration on the facing page).

Shelves customize a closet. Attaching shelves to a closet wall creates more storage space while giving you more flexibility in locating the closet pole.

FITTING BASEBOARD IN IMPERFECT CORNERS[Photo by Roe A. Osborn, cour­tesy Fine Homebuilding magazine © The Taunton Press, Inc.]

Remember that cleats along the back and end edges should also support the top shelf, as discussed previously.

Подпись:Cut the shelves to fit between the divider and the closet wall, then nail them to the cleats to further secure the divider.

On what will be the clothes-hanging side of the closet, attach a 1×4 cleat to the divider at 66 in. to support the pole. Or you can install two poles, one at 72 in. and one at 36 in. The pole sockets are attached to the cleats and the divider.

If you’d prefer to buy shelving rather than make it, you can find plastic-coated 1x12s with shelving holes already drilled in them at most home centers. The shelves sit on small shelf pins that fit into the holes drilled into the divider.




ATTACHING A COUNTERTOP TO A. BASE CABINETПодпись:Подпись: Take the saw to the work. If you have a chopsaw that's compact and light enough to carry, move it into the room where you're installing trim. This can save you time and energy when making the many required cuts.

An electronic stud finder will locate studs quickly and accurately. But if you don’t have one, there are other methods you can use. Look on the floor for keel marks that were used to locate the studs before drywall installation. Electrical-outlet boxes are nailed into studs. Tap gently on the wall and listen for a duller sound when you tap over a stud. Or drive nails behind the cabinet to locate a stud. When one stud is found, other studs should be 16 in. or 24 in. from it. Once the studs are found, mark their locations inside the cabinets on the mounting rail. Predrill screw holes in the cabi­net mounting rail, set the cabinet in place, and drive a screw into each stud. If the screw misses the stud, check again for its location until you get it right. And feel free to use a few extra screws in wall cabinets. Just make sure they go into studs.

Many types of countertops are available these days, but the most common type of afford­able countertop is plastic laminate applied over particleboard or MDF. Laminate countertops come in many colors and styles. Remember if you choose this type of countertop that scratches show up more on dark surfaces than on lighter ones. Also, be aware that very hot pans can leave burn marks on laminate countertops. Sometimes, a countertop is also needed in a bathroom, but often the bath vanity comes with a countertop and a sink already attached.

A countertop ends where it meets a wall or stove and extends 1 in. or so beyond the end of the last cabinet. When I’m ready to install a countertop, I go to a supplier, pick a color, and give the clerk the exact measurements of the base cabinets. I prefer the style of laminate countertop that comes with a backsplash. If you provide the size and location of the sink, the supplier can cut the hole for it, often at no additional cost (see the top photo on p. 257). Otherwise, a hole can be cut on the job site with a jigsaw or a reciprocating saw (sabersaw) equipped with a fine-tooth blade. Just follow the directions that come with the sink. Put some duct tape on the base of the saw to keep it from scratching the laminate surface.

In many Habitat houses, the kitchen layout provides for straight countertop surfaces rather than L-shaped countertops, which are more difficult to install. If you need an L-shaped countertop, the supplier will make the neces­sary miter cuts and provide special hardware for joining countertop sections from underneath. Before joining mitered sections, put waterproof silicone caulk on the two mating edges.

Test-fit each countertop section, placing it on top of the base cabinets and seeing whether the unit fits properly. If the backsplash doesn’t fit tightly against the wall, fill small gaps with silicone caulk after attaching the countertop. If necessary, especially on a crooked or wavy wall,

scribe a line on the backsplash and then use a belt sander to remove material from the back – splash to make it fit against the wall.

ATTACH THE COUNTERTOP WITH SCREWS. Usually, base cabinets are built so the top can be screwed directly to them. For some cabinet and countertop combinations, though, a supplier may advise you to put strips of 1 x material on top of the base cabinets so the countertop nosing won’t prevent cabinet doors and drawers from opening.

Prefinished countertops must be attached with screws from below. Attach the countertop by driving Р/4-in.-long screws up through the 1x mounting blocks installed by the cabinet manufacturer (see the illustration on the fac­ing page). Predrill a screw hole through the mounting blocks, but be very careful not to drill or drive the screws so deeply that you break through the finish surface. It’s easy to strip a screw driven into a countertop’s particleboard or MDF substrate, so don’t try to drive installation screws extra tight. Complete the job by running a neat bead of silicone caulk between the back – splash and the wall.


The old house I grew up in had full 1×12 base­boards. In our part of the country, they were called mopboards. In those days, people used big mops to clean their floors with soap and water. The baseboard not only covered the joint between the plaster and the floor but also pro­tected the walls from being banged by the mop.

Today, baseboard trim is made from real or manufactured wood, and there are many styles available. In the last Habitat house we built here on the coast, we used 1×4 baseboards made of preprimed MDF. Once it was installed and painted, it looked great, but it was so solid that you could hardly drive a nail through it by hand.

Подпись:ATTACHING A COUNTERTOP TO A. BASE CABINETIn other houses, we have used 3-in.-wide trim that’s about 3/8 in. thick at the bottom and slopes up to a slender top edge. The thin edge

Подпись:Подпись: Short trim splits easily. Short pieces of trim must be predrilled so nails won't split them. If a short piece of trim fits snugly in place, you can simply glue it without using nails. Подпись: Inside baseboard corners are coped. The coped cut fits the profile of the trim piece that runs into the corner. [Photo © The Taunton Press, Inc.]

makes it harder for dust to collect on the top. Baseboards still cover the joint between the drywall and the floor and keep the wall from getting banged by a vacuum cleaner. Order long stock from the supplier so you can eliminate joints on most walls.

Install the baseboard trim

Before installing baseboards, use a putty knife first to clean any excess joint compound from the corners. Then clearly mark (or re-mark) the location of the studs on the floor. If the gap between the bottom edge of the drywall and the floor is greater than 1 in., take the time to fill it with strips of ‘/i-in.-thick OSB or plywood. Otherwise, the bottom part of the trim can easily be canted inward during installation. If you’ll be nailing the baseboard by hand, protect your knees with a pair of kneepads.

Paint-grade MDF is a material commonly used in baseboard and door trim. It is not advis­able to use this material in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms. MDF absorbs water easily, caus­ing it to expand. It will then have to be replaced.

Right-handed people generally prefer to install baseboard counterclockwise (right to left), starting at a door. This makes it easier for righties to cut a coped joint. Lefties tend to install baseboard clockwise for the same reason. Set baseboard right on vinyl or wood flooring, but hold it up about Vi in. if you plan to install carpeting later so that you can slip the carpet under it. When working in rooms that will later be carpeted, use small blocks of OSB as tem­porary supports under baseboards as you nail them to the wall.

To get my trim skills up to speed, I like to start running baseboard in a closet. Try mak­ing a rough plan of each room on scrap paper and record the measured length of each wall. Drywall is often left a bit rough near the floor line, so it’s hard to measure accurately at that point. Hold the tape off the floor a couple of inches to get a more accurate measurement.

This will save you time walking back and forth to the chopsaw with a new measurement each time you want to make a cut.

The first piece right inside the door is mea­sured to length from the door casing to the wall and cut square on each end. Often, that piece is quite short (2 in. or so). If it fits snugly in place, you may not need to nail it. Instead, spread some glue on the back and just press it into posi­tion. The next piece of trim will hold the short


Outside corners are mitered. Two pieces of base­board cut at 45-degree angles should meet to form a neat, tight 90-degree corner.



I prefer marking trim for outside corners in place rather than determining the length with a measuring tape. Position a piece of trim along the wall. Make a mark where the top of the trim meets the corner. The cut will be the short point of the 45-degree miter. The two mitered pieces of baseboard meet at a corner and make a 90-degree angle (see the photo at left).

If an outside corner is not square, adjust the cut to make the miters fit (see the sidebar on p. 262). A bit of glue on the corner will help hold the joint secure. Drive a 4d nail through the face of one baseboard and into the end of


Pneumatic gun nails are la­beled in inches rather than by “d”. So rather than looking for an 8d nail, you need to look for a 2-in. gun nail. These nails are thin with a square point, which allows them to be driven into wood without split­ting it.




one until the glue sets. Use 6d finishing nails for ‘/^-in.-thick trim and 8d nails for 3/4-in.-thick trim. Space the nails about 16 in. apart, and drive them into either the bottom plate or the studs. Driving each nail should pull the trim tightly against the wall.

The second piece of baseboard is coped to fit against the first piece and cut square to butt against the next wall. On the end that will mate with the short piece of baseboard, cut a 45-degree miter that is long on the back (so you can see the cut surface). Now use a coping saw to cut the outline of the profile left in the exposed end grain (see the sidebar on p. 259). The cope-cut end will fit snugly against the first piece of base­board (see the bottom photo on the facing page). Trim for inside corners that will be painted can be fitted together with a miter cut rather than a coped joint. If the fit isn’t perfect, you can fill it with a bit of painter’s putty.

As an alternative to making coped cuts for inside corners, some builders install manufac­tured corner blocks, which are available in sever­al styles. Each block is simply glued to an inside corner; baseboard trim can then be cut square to butt against an edge of the corner block. A similar type of block is available to fit on outside corners that are covered with a rounded drywall bead rather than with a square one.


Hold base up 1/2 in. from floor that will





On a vinyl floor, a base shoe can be nailed at the bottom of the baseboard.





Where baseboard runs into a heat register, cut the baseboard back 15 degrees on both sides to soften the ends.